Somerset's Chris Duckett was one of the pioneer artisan cheese makers. A real specialist, he concentrated on a superb Caerphilly. But there are several versions of this! Wedmore has a line of chives running through the middle, and this is Smoked Wedmore - which is therefore a sort of double variation on the basic cheese.
Vegetarian / Pasteurised
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Chris Duckett's family had a farm at Wedmore, Somerset, and started making their Caerphilly in the 1920s, with Chris himself making since the 1960s. He devoted himself to preserving the 'genuine article' - something that was in serious danger of disappearing - and this work was recognised in 2008 when he recieved a special award at the British Cheese Awards.
In time Chris gave up the farming and moved his making to Westcombe Dairy (the cheddar makers) creating this unique arrangement where two great makers share the same space. The next chapter in the Ducketts story came a couple of years ago with the arrival of Jemima (seen
here at the cheese press), an Oxford-based research biochemist who'd been to work with Jamie Montgomery and become hooked!
Chris sadly died in 2009 and, for a period, Jemima took over making the cheese during which time I visited and was struck by what hard graft cheesemaking is. Hours of stirring, cutting and piling curd, then filling and stacking moulds - and all the time you're bent double over the vat. As Jemima said with feeling: "when we say it's hand made, we mean it".
Since then Westcombe Dairy have taken over making Duckett's Caerphilly. The Duckett family tradition is in safe hands.