Friday, May 24, 2013

#32 - Berkswell cheese

Image taken from

Berkswell cheese is made at Ram Hall near the village of Berkswell in Warwickshire.  Sheila and Peter Fletcher milk a flock of Friesian and Dorset sheep, and the cheese is made by Linda Dutch and her team at the 16th century farmhouse.  Berkswell cheese is made from unpasteurised ewe’s milk, and using traditional animal rennet, both of which contribute to its depth of flavour.  The curd is drained in basket moulds (although modern plastic versions are used now) which gives it a distinctive UFO shape.

The cheeses are aged for around 6 months, but good batches can be aged for longer and can develop an amazing depth of flavour.  It has a medium firm texture when younger but becomes firmer as it matures.  The rind is firm but thin, and can vary from smooth to rough/crusty and varying in colour in older cheeses.  It can even become pitted from mites as it ages, a bit like mimolette.

The flavour is rich and often complex - savoury and fruity and a little sweet (reminiscent of parmesan style cheese) and sometimes nutty, but with an extra flavour contribution and waxy texture from the sheeps milk.  This was one of my favourites in the short time I worked at NYD.

Further information:
A good info sheet can be found on the Neal’s Yard Dairy website:  here

And a detailed article on the Fletchers' farm and Berkswell cheese production can be found here

Specially selected Berkswell maturing at the Neal's Yard Dairy maturing arches.

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