Devon Maid

Rachel Stephens of Curworthy Cheese was one of the first cheese makers I got to know after we started up in 2006. She made a range of cheeses - Curworthy itself, the more mature Devon Oke, Haytor - but they were always hard ones. Until now.

'Brie with a bite' is what cheesemaker Rachel Stephens was aiming for when, a few years ago, she started working on what was to become Devon Maid. Originally a response to all her market and food festival customers who asked for a soft cheese, it became a source of interest and fascination as the recipe was tweaked and refined over the years. Rachel sees it as having a flavour that goes in the camembert direction; the 'vermiculated' surface texture ( I think of it as like a brain!) is also a characteristic.

Like all cheeses of this type, it will become softer and with a more developed flavour if kept for a while. So as the buyer you have a choice - whether to have it younger, milder, with a firm, perhaps chalky texture, or whether to leave it until it gets softer and stronger (that's when the bite appears). And remember, if you want this type of cheese to ripen, take it out of the fridge and let it spend some time in warmer temperatures ...