Further Off The Beaten Track: What Are Your Favourites?
One of our key things has always been to explore our region and find those great cheeses which you can't pick up on any old deli counter. Over the years we've driven the length and breadth of the Westcountry meeting cheese makers: here - in this mini-gallery - you can see a few of them! We've learned about these clever people and what they do; most importantly, of course, we've discovered what it is they make.
Now we'd like your help. Are there some Westcountry cheeses you love, but which we've missed? It's not impossible! Perhaps there's a small-scale dairy that has slipped under our radar? Or: maybe one of the established dairies has a cheese we don't stock - but you think we should? Quicke's had been making their amazing ewes' milk cheese for years but for some reason we didn't sell it until recently. What an omission!
Over ten years a few things have changed in the cheese landscape. Some lovely small makers have closed for one reason or another. I'm thinking of the fantastic Menallack, creation of Caryl and John Minson. This amazing micro-dairy near Falmouth made just about every type of cheese you could think of. I still miss their gorgeous mixed-milk velvet-soft cheeses (oh Heligan, Treverva Green, Mrs Finns ... where have you gone?). Bocaddon Farm, maker of more lovely soft cheeses, is also much missed.
At the same time, however, new things start! James McCall and Alison French, made redundant when Cranborne Chase Cheese closed, started two new dairies - James's Cheese and Chalke Valley Cheese respectively, and Dorset's food scene is all the better for it. In addition, existing makers regularly come up with new cheeses, which we're always keen to try. Right now we have a sample of a mixed-milk hard cheese from Sharpham to try ... so you might be seeing that on our shelves soon.
But returning to my question: what are your favourites on the Westcountry cheese scene? What are we missing? I'd love to hear from you, so please email me with your thoughts.