11 delicious Somerset cheeses you need to try - and they're not all cheddar!
PUBLISHED: 15:33 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:33 16 August 2017
Do you know your West Country cheddar from your caerphilly? Read this round-up of the top cheeses from Somerset dairies and organic farms and your cheeseboard will never look the same again!
Cheddar – thought to be the most eaten cheese in the world and it originated right here in Somerset. Yet this celebrity of fromage fame is not the only local cheese worth choosing to accompany biscuits or a Ploughman’s lunch – there is a huge selection of hard, soft and fresh cheeses produced right here in Somerset.
That next cheese and wine evening need no longer be an excuse to get drunk; as these artisan West Country cheeses will be the stars of the show. We pick 11 favourites, perfect for dinner parties, cheese boards and midnight snacks alike.
1. Gorwydd Caerphilly - Trethowan Dairy
Trethowan’s Gorwydd Caerphilly is a mature Caerphilly made to a traditional recipe using raw cows milk and a traditional rennet. Matured on the farm for two months the cheese has a fresh lemony taste – with a creamy texture to the outer and a firmer but moist inner. Formerly based in West Wales, Trethowan’s Dairy relocated to Puxton Court Farm in North Somerset in 2014. Try warming the Caerphilly in the oven with a little thyme and garlic, before devouring on a slice of sourdough.
2. Westcombe Somerset Ricotta - Westcombe Dairy
If something light and fresh is required, then Westcombe’s Somerset Ricotta is a winner. Light and fresh tasting, with a rich, slightly grainy texture and a pleasantly salty, full dairy flavour, it has a range of culinary uses. Delicious spread on toast with a splash of extra virgin olive oil – or used in a cheesecake for a sweet treat.
3. Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar – Barber’s Cheese
Barber’s have been making cheddar for six generations. Their signature cheese, 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar is matured for 24 months to reach its full potential. The cheese boasts a distinctive smooth and creamy background with a slightly crunchy texture that is a result of the natural development of calcium lactate crystals late in the ageing process. Make sure you try it with a dollop of red onion chutney.
4. Wyfe of Bath – The Bath Soft Cheese Co.
Kelston, Bath, Somerset
An organic semi-hard cheese with a nutty and creamy taste. Made by placing the curd in cloth lined baskets, the cheese retains the basket shape and has a soft light caramel colour. The name derives from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and eating a slice is meant to conjure the taste of old England. Pair with an apple and cider chutney.
5. Organic Farmhouse Mature Cheddar - Lye Cross Farm
Redhill, North Somerset
This award-winning organic mature cheddar has a full flavour with a firm and silky texture. Hand-crafted locally using organic milk sourced only from UK organic farms, the cheese is carefully matured for ten to fourteen months under controlled conditions. Try it on its own with a large glass of Bordeaux
6. Blissful Buffalo Blue – Exmoor Blue Cheese
Lydeard St Lawrence, Somerset
Made from buffalo’s milk, this soft blue cheese is full veined with the milk imparting a very creamy taste. The family run dairy uses only the milk from local herds before adding starter cultures, vegetarian rennet and penicillin roqueforti - to give the characteristic blue tang Try pairing Blissful Buffalo with a fiery chipotle chilli sauce.
7. Somerset Brie – Lubborn Creamery
Cricket St Thomas, Somerset
Brie is perfect for those that prefer a milder flavoured cheese. Lubborn Somerset Brie is creamy with a fresh flavour and a soft edible white rind. The cheese becomes softer, richer and fuller in flavour as it ripens from the outside in. Accompany with a soft, fruity red wine, fresh crusty bread and cherries.
8. Eve Goats’ Cheese - White Lake Cheeses
Shepton Mallet, Somerset
Made by Pete Humphries of Somerset’s Whitelake Cheese, this small, soft goats’ cheese is washed in Somerset Cider Brandy and then wrapped in vine leaves. The cheese is inspired by the character of the French cheese Époisses de Bourgogne. Try it simply, with black grapes and a little bread.
9. Rainbows Gold Cheese - Somerset Cheese Company
Shepton Mallet, Somerset
Another ‘washed’ cheese, Rainbows Gold is a semi-hard, creamy-textured cheese made with unpasteurised Channel Island cows milk. After maturation, the cheese is wash rinded using local Glastonbury ale, ‘Golden Chalice’. Try it atop an oatcake with a slice of pear.
10. Cave Matured Cheddar - Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company
For a cheddar cheese made in the traditional Somerset way, it has to be matured in the caves of Cheddar Gorge. This cheddar from the Cheddar Gorge Cheese company is matured in Gough’s Cave in the heart of Cheddar Gorge for 11 to 12 months. Furthermore, it is made with unpasteurised milk to retain the characteristics of the local pastures. Try it melted on toast with Worcestershire sauce for a late night snack.
11. Applewood Cheddar – Ilchester Cheese Co.
This well known cheese is a traditional farmhouse Cheddar with a delicate smoky flavour and smooth texture – its colour comes from a coating of mild paprika. Try using it in a cheese soufflé for a Somerset spin on the French classic.