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Guide to British & Irish Cheeses Essential stocklists for every speciality food store Cheddars • British territorials • Hard and semi-hard cheeses • Soft & semi-soft cheeses • blueS • Fresh cheeseS • Flavoured varieties • BUYING ADVICE • WHOLESALER DIRECTORY Published in association with the UK Cheese Guild and its trade sponsors

Avilton foods

Your customers will demand it 2

All sales enquiries to OXFORD BLUE CHEESE COMPANY LTD 01844 338055 www.oxfordямБ | Guide to British & Irish Cheeses


WELCOME by Bob Farrand

The Guild of Fine Food organises several retail training programmes, and the longest established and most popular is the UK Cheese Guild course. Over the past 20 years we have trained thousands of shop owners, counter staff and buyers up and down the country, and at the close of each training day one or two delegates will always ask if I can recommend a guide to the cheeses that good delis and farm shops should stock. Having spent 40-odd years learning about cheese and still discovering something new each day, it seems unlikely such a guide could ever exist. But what I’ve attempted to put together here is a list of the basic families of cheese and the muststocks within each family – the ones I believe the best counters should always include.

For those stores keen to focus on regional specialities, I have listed a wide selection of artisan products found throughout Britain and Ireland. But a word of caution: it is by no means 100% comprehensive. The selection of artisan cheeses available constantly changes, adding to the joy for every top quality cheesemonger who discovers a little local gem that enriches the counter and the cheeseboard. If I missed any you think are important I apologise,

but it is the vibrancy of the sector that makes it so enriching. If I’m asked to recommend a book that reveals most about the regional cheeses from these islands, Great British Cheeses by Jenny Linford and published by Dorling Kindersley is my choice. However, neither this guide nor any cheese book can replace the unique personality of each deli and farm shop cheese counter. That’s your role – and long may it be the case. Good luck. Bob Farrand National Director, Guild of Fine Food & UK Cheese Guild w

The World Cheese Awards, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, annually attracts 3,000 cheeses from 34 countries, making it the largest competition of its type in the world. Venues for the awards change year on year: it was Dublin in 2008, Gran Canaria in 2009 and the BBC Good Food Show at Birmingham’s NEC in 2010. Over 150 experts fly in from 25 countries to judge the cheeses in a single day and the World Champion is selected by an invited panel of food celebrities and international experts at the end of the judging. All the results are available at where you can also watch video of the judges 2010 at work.



t remains the largest part of the cheese market but it is staggering how many stores fail to capitalise on the rich variety of cheddars available. If the majority of your customers regularly buy cheddar, make sure you stock a selection that will appeal to as many of them as possible. If you don’t sell what they prefer they’re off down to Tesco, so occasionally you may need the odd block of creamery (factory-made) medium cheddar. Mix farmhouse varieties from Devon, Dorset and Somerset – they offer very different flavour profiles as they are the result of different ‘terroirs’. In Devon and Dorset, the soil drains well and coastal breezes are warm and salty from the Gulf Stream. In Somerset, there is more clay in the soil, which means the winter season often stretches from November to April so cattle are inside longer on winter feed. A cheese made in March in Devon is from early spring grass whereas those from South Somerset often deliver wonderful earthy characteristics. Mix the age profiles – mature and extra mature cheddars are popular but 18 month and two-year-old farmhouse varieties carry good margins and offer a real point of difference. And you need to cater for younger consumers, many of whom prefer cheddars made using starters that generate sweeter flavours. The two-year-old Barbers 1833 is made using traditional bulk starter cultures stored in their now, unique starter ‘bank’, which also supplies

other farmhouse cheese-makers like Montgomery, Keens, Westcombe and Appleby. Barbers regularly switches the cultures it uses in cheese-making, which ultimately delivers slight but delightful flavour variations, highlighting how wrong supermarket buyers are in demanding uniformity in their cheese. Don’t get hooked into separating organic from non-organic because even at the World Cheese Awards all cheeses are judged side by side on texture, body and flavour. Alvis Bros has consistently won gold when up against non-organic farmhouse cheddars so if you have enough customers wanting organic you need look no further.


Stock cheddars from a variety of regions and offer a mix of farmhouse and creamery varieties and different sweet or savoury flavour profiles. • The farmhouse cheeses from Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Somerset all differ. • From the south, consider Denhay, Quickes and Ford Farm. • From the north, look at Montgomery, Keens, Westcome, Barbers, Brue Valley, Parkham and Alvis Bros. • If you retail in Scotland, Wales or Ireland, clearly you need at least one local version. • Offer a variety of age profiles – 12, 15, 18 and 24 months – and consider the time of year each one is made. • Stock a ‘guest cheddar’ to widen the choice.

Stocklist: essential cheddars 12 months: Keens and Quickes 15-18 months: Keens, Quickes, Montgomery 24 months: Quickes (when you can get it) and Barbers 1833 Others West Country farmhouse cheddars you might stock from time to time: Westcombe, Brue Valley (World Champion in 2000), Ford Farm, Parkhams Other British cheddars or cheddar-style cheeses worth considering: • Lincolnshire Poacher – sharp and assertive • Daylesford Organic – creamy Cotswold award-winner with wide appeal • South Lakes Organic – made with rich Cumbrian milk from organic grass-fed cows, this rich, creamy local variation has style. • Little Black Bomber – from Snowdonia Cheese Co Guide to British & Irish Cheeses |



Hard and semi-hard British regionals


very supermarket sells its own versions of British territorial cheeses and mostly, they’re not very good. These cheeses define delis and farm shops more than any other. They tell the world you’re running a serious cheese counter that offers more and better cheeses than any supermarket. It is vital, therefore, to stock the key names discerning consumers look for. Aim to stock named farmhouse varieties but with more age than those stocked in Waitrose, which is the only supermarket offering any real point of comparison with your store. It stocks cheeses from farmhouse producers who resolutely refuse to sell to any other supermarket. On the one hand, that’s reassuring but on the other, if you have a Waitrose close by, you should check it out regularly. You’ll find it often fails to offer properly aged cheeses, which is almost inevitable when you are managing as many counters as Waitrose does. This gives you the opportunity to offer cheeses with deeper, more complex flavours and shows why every independent retailer should get out of the shop regularly to visit the competition. Spend a few pounds buying cheeses both you and they stock and be honest with yourself: are yours better and worth the extra you charge? If not, think again – and have a serious word with your suppliers. A Hawes Real Yorkshire Wensleydale aged beyond 16 weeks offers deeper, richer lemony notes and Gorwydd Caerphilly is a real pleasure when the paste softens an inch or so inside the rind. Nettle and Wild Garlic Yarg are even more fabulous with another 2-3 weeks maturation beyond the supermarket norm. Temperature control is critical. Supermarkets store at almost zero – which is too cold and often permanently damages the delicate, complex flavours of an Appleby Cheshire or Kirkham’s Lancashire. As long as the centre of each cheese is below 8ºC (which means your counter temperature should be nearer 5ºC) you are within food safety guidelines. Some EHOs force retailers to bring the temperature down lower but the regulations are clear: hard and semi-hard cheese – below 8ºC; soft – below 5ºC.

Stocklist: British territorials Wensleydale: Hawes Real Yorkshire Wensleydale Reserve – or Kit Calvert if you can persuade Hawes to sell it to you Lancashire: Kirkhams if your store is south of Birmingham; add Dewlay and Sandhams in the North Cheshire: Appleby, Bournes Red Leicester: Sparkenhoe Caerphilly: Gorwydd, Caws Cenarth and Ducketts Double Gloucester: Charles Martell, Appleby & Quickes Single Gloucester: Diana Smart New British and Irish hard cheeses have proliferated over the past two decades bringing a rich new generation of regional varieties – some spectacular, other with a little way still to go. What you stock largely depends on where you are located, but some are worth stocking no matter where you are. The two very clever Yargs, the stunning 17-month Old Winchester from Lyburn, the awardwinning Daylesford Organic, the sweet-savoury Coquetdale from Northumberland, and the Wyfe of Bath – which knocked me out when I judged it at the Bath & West Show – would all earn their keep on any counter. Many others appeal because of their ‘local’ value but it is essential, wherever possible, to meet the makers and taste their cheeses before stocking. It is these small-scale artisan products that create a real point of difference from the supermarket. 4


| Guide to British & Irish Cheeses

Cornish Yarg (above), Lincolnshire Poacher (below left) and Llanboidy

Stocklists: hard & semi-hard regionals South West Cornish Yarg Garlic Yarg Curworthy Devon Oke Fosseway Fleece Gunstone Goat Fosseway Fleece Hampshire Rose Loosehanger Lyburn Gold Menallack Farmhouse Norsworthy Ogleshield Old Winchester Pendragon Pennard Ridge (Red) Stithians Farm House Quicke’s Hard Goat Ticklemore Woolsery Goat Wyfe of Bath South East Ashdown Foresters Duddleswell

Lord of the Hundreds Not Just a Pasta Cheese Old Sussex Old Winchester Spenwood Sussex Scrumpy Sussex Yoeman Winterdale Middle England Berkswell Daylesford Cheddar Double Worcester – Ansteys Double Berkeley Elgar Mature Harefield Hawkstone Hereford Hop Lincolnshire Poacher Little Derby Little Hereford Norfolk Dapple Old Worcester White The North Berwick Edge Cheviot Chevington Coquetdale Cotherstone Croglin Cuddy’s Cave

Delamere Distinctive Sage Derby Northumberland Ribblesdale Sheeps’ Milk Wensleydale Swaledale Wales Beltane Caws Nantybwla Llanboydy Llangloffan Teifi Scotland Cairnsmore Clochandighter Dunlop Isle of Mull Lanark White Mull of Kintyre Ireland Coolea Desmond Drumlin Dubliner Gabriel Killeen (cow and goat) Knockamore

SAINT GILES Twice GOLD MeDaL Winner at the World Cheese AWArds 2009; Best British and Best english Cheese


Hand made on our farm in the High Weald of Sussex from fresh organic cows’ milk. a semi soft cheese, with a rich buttery, slightly squidgy texture, a creamy mild flavour and a stunning edible orange rind made from organic carrot. available both as half wheels for the Deli, and as pre packed wedges.

Producing the very best in Organic and Conventional Cheddar since 1952 Handmade using fresh milk from our local herds, traditional family skills are combined with the latest technology to produce Organic and Conventional Cheddars of exceptional quality.

CALL 01934 864600 for more information Visit our website now and watch your cheese being made! Lye Cross Farm, Redhill, North Somerset BS40 5RH

Other cheeses in our range include; from Sheep milk; duddleswell, sussex slipcote, halloumi, Mediterranean style, made from organic Cows’ milk; Ashdown Forester, sussex Cheddar, and made from Goat Milk; sister sarah. Please contact the Dairy for further information, wholesalers and tasters.

high WeAld dAiry tremains Farm, horsted Keynes West sussex rh17 7eA

tel; 01825 791636 email;

dedicated to cheese South 020 7819 6000 Central 01905 829 830 North 0161 279 8020 H&B trading as Cheese Cellar

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Award winning farmhouse cheeses from the heart of Northumberland home of the famous Northumberland Nettle. Supplying to the wholesale, catering and retail trade. |

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Winner of the Eugene Burns Trophy for Best Irish Cheese at the British Cheese awards

Straight from our farm to your counter At Daylesford, we have been farming organically for over 25 years with a simple passion for real food. Acclaimed for producing some of the country’s best food, our deli range includes our award-winning cheeses and our best selling real meals. For information on stocking Daylesford Organic products, including our introductory Deli Box offer, contact Greg Ovenden on 07500 607479.




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| Guide to British & Irish Cheeses 17/06/2010 12:46

Blue cheeses


his category offers the widest range of flavours of any cheese family so the clever retailer will stock a range to please as many palates as possible. The average maturation time for most blues is around 3-4 months – some benefit from a little extra time but mostly this is when they’re at their peak. Foil-wrapped blues, particularly those that belong to the creamy soft type, are more firm textured and a little harsh at 12 weeks but a month later, they offer a rich, balanced creaminess. Cashel Blue, Yorkshire Blue and Cornish Blue are so much better with the extra few weeks – another easy point of difference to score over the supermarkets. The irrepressible Baron Robert Pouget, the man behind Oxford Blue, visited the Guild offices a few years ago and left a 12-week-old example of his foil-wrapped cheese with instructions to bring it on for a further four weeks. He was right: it was creamy-soft and perfectly balanced. For choice, two Stiltons are better than one. Those from Colston Bassett are in the older style, full-on and grown up. Cropwell Bishop, on the other hand, is more modern and approachable and will please younger consumers. Long Clawson is making top notch ‘modern style’ Stiltons now, as is Quenby Hall, and don’t forget Stichelton, not quite a Stilton but very nearly, and made using West Midlands unpasteurised milk. Very possibly exactly how Stilton was made before 1989. Blue Wensleydale (now re-named Jervaulx Blue) is a perfect marriage of the honey notes in the Wensleydale with the blue acidity of the penicillium mould, pleasing many who find Stilton too strong. Mentally separate all your blue cheeses into four main categories: strong, medium, creamy and mild. Make sure everyone on the counter knows which category each falls into and it will become second nature to guide customers towards the strength of cheeses they enjoy best. In supermarkets, staff and customers rely on idiot guides – strengths one to six written on the cheese or counter ticket –which means the server never needs to know how strong each cheese is. Just choose a number? That makes for a truly great shopping experience! Stock at least three examples in each category and if you have the space then regularly introduce local blues to freshen the offer. Some are better than others but it’s low risk and can easily tempt customers into trying something new.

Cashel Blue

Stocklist: blue cheeses Essential blues Stilton – Two of the following: Colston Bassett, Cropwell Bishop, or Quenby Hall and Long Clawson Stichelton Blue Shropshire Blue Wensleydale (now replaced by Jervaulx Blue) South West Beenleigh Blue Dorset Blue Vinney Cornish Blue Exmoor Blue Bath Blue Devon Blue Harbourne Blue Blissfull Buffalo Nanny Blue New Forest Blue Old Sarum South East Isle of White Blue Barkham Blue Middle England Oxford Blue Fowlers Forest Blue Suffolk Blue

Jervaulx Blue

The North Yorkshire Blue Garstang Blue Blacksticks Blue Ribblesdale Blue Goats Blue Cheshire Buffalo Blue Mrs Bell’s Blue Nantwich Blue Yorkshire Blue

Yorkshire Blue Scotland Lanark Blue Strathdon Blue Dunsyre Blue Highland Blue Blue Monday Wales Llanloffan Blue Per Lâs Pont Gar Blue Ireland Cashel Blue Crozier Blue

Guide to Bristish & Irish Cheeses |



Stuff of legend When it comes to exceptional cheddar, the old ways are still the best. Our awardwinning, traditional truckles are wrapped in muslin and allowed to breathe as they slowly mature, resulting in a creamy complex flavour with a long finish.

Gold winners at British Cheese Awards (Best Cheddar & Best Goats Cheese), World Cheese Awards, Great Taste Awards, Nantwich International, Royal Bath & West, Great Yorkshire, Devon County Show, Taste of the West and Frome Cheese Show.

Home Farm . Newton St Cyres . Devon .

Cheese and so much more


The Maher family farm is in the heart of Tipperary where pastures are rich and green


All cow’s milk used is the production of cheeses is from our own pedigree freisan herd


Top quality goats milk is used for the production of


Our hand made cheese include Cooleeney.


We invite you to visit our website at

goat cheeses

Dunbarra, Daru, Tipperary Brie, Gortnamona, Chulchoill and Gleann Oir

Whether it’s artisan cheeses crafted in our Yorkshire heartland or other gems from Britain and beyond, we’ve 300 varieties to choose from – be it cutting cheese, waxed truckles or vac pacs sized to suit. Add to that our vast range of chilled and ambient accompaniments, and you’ve got the perfect one-stop shop for all your wholesale delicatessen needs.

Call Linda Walters on 01609 777700 or 07792 497416 8


| Guide to British & Irish Cheeses

Soft & semi-soft cheeses


his is the hardest sector of the cheese counter to cater for if you restrict your selection to British and Irish cheeses only. The French have long thought themselves kings of soft cheese, with a selection of white mould and wash rind cheeses ranging from gloopy rich double-cream modern flavours to the uniquely wonderful earthy creaminess of a Brie de Meaux or Langrés. Nevertheless British and Irish producers have upped their game over the past decade and a dedicated home nations cheesemonger has plenty to choose from. The white mould cheeses from Bath Soft Cheese, for example, have grown in stature and now deliver real depth of flavour and Tipperary Brie from Cooleeney delivers all the richness of Irish milk. Your main problem will always be the ripeness of these cheeses as so many British and Irish soft and semi-soft varieties remain resolutely firm inside until they’re well past their

sell-by date and those that do ripen properly invariably go over the top 15 minutes later. Home-grown bries need careful storage – avoid really low temperatures and remember, until you cut into a brie it is still ripening. So in law you can store it at its ripening temperature, which is at around 8ºC. Turn it regularly and the moment you feel it’s ready for cutting the food police will insist you store at 5ºC. Stock as many bries as your counter can take and bring them on so that, come the weekend, you’ve always got plenty of ripe ones. Customers buy with their eyes and if they don’t see a ripe one in your counter, they’re off to Waitrose.

Semi-soft washed rind & natural rind cheeses

Apart from one or two exceptions, the Brits don’t make great washed rind cheeses – even though legions of retailers say they can never stock too

much Stinking Bishop. In Ireland, with its strong monastic tradition, slowly washing and turning cheeses remains integral to their traditions. Gubbeen is spot on, as is Durrus and Ardrahan, but mostly, these are dinner party and special occasion cheeses so take care they’re at peak ripeness and don’t overstock and run the risk of wastage. Customers will often lead you in the style and type of soft and semisoft cheeses they want. In some parts of the UK and Ireland, consumers shy away from smelly washed rind varieties, so there’s little point in stocking lines that never sell. There are good ones to be found, some bold-as-you-like wash rind cheeses, others mix rind washing with penicillium candidum or mature with natural rinds in high humidity cellars. This really is a category worth going local on, but check out the taste first – some present quite a challenge and you need to be able to sell them with knowledge and a good story

Stocklist: semi-soft cheeses South West Keltic Gold Little Stinky Morn Dew Posbury Puddle Sharpham Rustic South East Burwash Rose St Giles Wigmore Middle England Oxford Isis St Oswald Stinking Bishop Suffolk Gold North Admiral Collingwood Crofton Doddington Baltic St James Scotland Bishop Kennedy Criffel Iona Cromag Kebbuck Wales Caws Cerwyn Celtic Promise Dragon’s Back Saval

Stocklist: Soft white mould cheeses South West Bath Soft Cheese Lubborn Sharpham Channel Island Brie Golden Cross Goldilocks Quickes Goat Capricorn Goat Vulscombe Black Eyed Susan Chatel Farleigh Wallop Gevrik Indian Blanket Kelston Park Little Riding Little Wallop Old Burford Toppenrose Gold Tymsboro

South East Tunworth Waterloo Perroche Rosary Sussex Slipcote Chabis Dorstone Finn Flower Marie Golden Cross Isle of Wight Ragstone St George Waterloo Middle England Cerney Cheese Buxlow Wonmil Innes Ash Log Kelsey Lane Lightwood Chaser Mayhill Green

North Kidderton Ash Whitehaven

Ireland Ardrahan Durrus Gubbeen Knockdrinna Lavistown Milleens

Scotland Aiket Caboc Crowdie Clava Crannog Mornish Wales Caws Presili Perl Wen Pont Gar Ireland Wicklow Baun Cooleeney St Killian St Tolan

Guide to British & Irish Cheeses |



Flavoured cheeses T

his cheese family is a matter for your discretion, but you ignore it at your peril. If enough customers ask for Wensleydale with cranberries, you’ve probably got to stock it, but favourite is to go for real flavoured cheeses –

those where the additives are introduced during cheese-making, not afterwards. There are one or two quite interesting ones about – Dutch style with cumin seeds, cheddar styles with shredded vegetables and so on.

Cahills in Ireland does a Porter cheese made using a Porter Ale made by Guinness, which works well in a cheese salad. There is no need for a list of these cheeses – you’re probably aware of them already.

Fresh cheese I

n the very fresh cheese category, the only British mozzarella to come remotely close to the real thing made in Italy is the Laverstoke buffalo milk mozzarella made at ex-Formula 1 world champion Jody Scheckter’s Hampshire farm. His investment is beginning to pay off – when his cheese-maker gets it right it’s divine, as can be the Burrata, a clever confection of a hollowed-out buffalo mozzarella filled with a mix of fresh cream and mozzarella pieces.


Cooleeney Farmhouse 00353 50445112

Interprofession Du Gruyère 01262 470272

Oxford Cheese Company 01844 338055

Anthony Rowcliffe 01892 838999

Cornish Country Larder 01460 282010

J.O.D Food Products 00353 6371209

Paxton & Whitfield 01451 823460

Avilton Foods 01392 822200

Cryer & Stott 01977 511022

Keen’s Cheddar 01963 32286

Pilgrims Choice 01963 828868

Barbers 01749 860666

Dairy Crest 01372 472286

Leopard Oceanic 01747 811188

Quickes Traditional 01392 851222

Bath Soft Cheese 01225 331601

Daylesford Organic 020 7259 4900

Lewis and Cooper 01609 772880

South Lakes Organic Milk 01229 586153

Cahills Farm Cheese 00353 6962365

Emmi UK 020 8875 2540

Carron Lodge 01995 640352

Grana Padano 0039 03091 09811

Wensleydale Dairy Products Lyburn Farmhouse Cheesemakers 01969 667664 01794 399982 Welsh Assembly Government Lynher Dairies Cheese 029 20 442627 01872 870789

The Cheese Cellar 020 7819 6000

Gubbeen Farmhouse 00353 2828231

Milk Link 01454 252506

The Cheese Shop 01244 346240

Hamish Johnston 020 7738 0741

Neal’s Yard Dairy 020 7500 7662

Cibosano 020 8207 5820

High Weald Dairy 01825 791636

Northumberland Cheese 01670 789798



| Guide to British & Irish Cheeses

Published by: Great Taste Publications and The Guild of Fine Food, Wincanton Somerset BA9 9FE. Tel: 01963 824464 w: Editor: Mick Whitworth Design: Mark Windsor Sales: Sally Coley, Becky Stacey Printed by: Advent Colour, Hants © Great Taste Publications Ltd and The Guild of Fine Food Ltd 2010. Reproduction of whole or part of this magazine without the publisher’s prior permission is prohibited. The opinions expressed in articles and advertisements are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher.

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Guide to British & Irish Cheeses |



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Fine Food Digest Cheese Supplement 2010  
Fine Food Digest Cheese Supplement 2010  

Authoritative, committed and rarely afraid to express opinions, Fine Food Digest magazine has been the voice of speciality food and drink fo...