Smarts Single Gloucester
Diana is the Queen of Double Gloucester, but also has another cheese up her sleeve (so to speak). Single Goucester is another hard cows cheese but without the red annato colouring used in the Double. It also matures more quickly, but its real distinguishing feature is the use of skimmed milk. Evening milk is left overnight then skimmed. This is then mixed with the next mornings whole milk, and the result is lighter - both in texture and taste - than its more-well known sibling. A cheese that's a little off the beaten track, and well worth trying!
Diana Smart took up cheesemaking aged 61. It was just something she'd always wanted to do, so one day she bought a job lot of cheese-making equipment from two sisters whose family had been making cheese for generations, and got stuck in. In 2008 - two decades on - she's still stirring the vat and cutting the curd, with help from son Rod and assistant Gary, and is rightly celebrated for her wonderful Double Gloucester, one of a handful of makers who keep this cheese alive in its traditional form.
I visited Diana and Rod in March 2008 to pick up 45 (!) Double Gloucesters which we were sending to Twickenham Stadium. Old Ley Court is a few miles west of Gloucester, set in a natural bowl with great views to the hills around. I found them lovely welcoming people who offered me lunch (cheese, of course ...) in the farmhouse before I went to see part of the process, as the curds were cut, turned, and squeezed to drain off the whey. The Victorian cheese presses and cheese maturing rooms were fascinating!