The Slow Food Movement
"IT'S THE CARE YOU PUT INTO EACH AND EVERY STEP THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE GOOD AND THE EXTRAORDINARY."
The process of making our award-winning clothbound cheddar requires many steps, each carried out slowly, with love, care, and decades of experience guiding the way.
Our slow techniques
It all begins with the land
We've always been farmers, at the mercy of Mother Nature and the weather she lays on this earth. We know her strength, and we respect it. We've always respected our land and have been nurturing this idyllic corner of Devon for over 500 years. We believe that if we treat this land well, it too will treat us well and provide wonders for us and for generations to come.
The rich red Devon soil is where everything begins for us, and we know we must always farm with the future in mind. By slowly grass-grazing our cows, we take an awful lot of carbon dioxide out of the air and put it back in the ground as organic matter, where it will make the soil richer and more productive. Our no-till cultivation method aims to restore and build soil organic matter, which is essential to soil fertility. We are always adding more deep-rooted plants to bring minerals up from deep in the soil, to help soil structure, and to keep growing in a drought.
We know that even the soil has an impact on the flavour when you tuck into a wedge of our cheese, so we will continue to care for it, slowly, just like our ancestors did before us.
Read more about the soils of our land.
The white stuff
Milk is such a complex thing and it can go down thousands of different pathways, depending on countless factors. We've spent years slowly testing, trialling and tweaking - the soil, the herd, the grass - to get the very best flavour. Our milk tastes different as the seasons change, and we celebrate that. That very thing illustrates our deep connection to the land, and our cheese is the perfect expression of that. Our herd is made up of a variety of traditional dairy stock; each breed has been specifically chosen to create the ultimate hybrid — the Quicke’s cow. With a focus on grass grazing and allowing our animals to spend the maximum time outside, we are embracing what nature throws our way and capturing it in muslin for all to enjoy.
Read more about our milk.
Prized starter culture
A starter is a complex mix of microorganisms, with lots of bugs that operate in different ways, and each makes a stamp on the cheese. Most industrial dairies use cultures that have a maximum of three strains of bugs and a simple profile. This gives them the consistency they need so the cheese they produce is the same every day. We could have done the same, but we use several cultures that derive from wild cultures collected from the best dairies in the 1960s and 70s. It's less reliable and less consistent but because of that, there’s much more complexity. For us, that's where the magic happens.
Read more about our heritage starters.
With over a century's experience between them, our team of expert cheesemakers follow age-old recipes that have been passed down through generations. They get hands-on, cutting the curd into large strips and turning it by hand to allow the last remnants of whey to drain away. This is the "cheddaring" process, essential to the creation of genuine farmhouse cheddar. Of course, now, there are machines that can do that for us, but we believe this hands-on approach sets our cheese apart. It's very much a slow technique, but it is the experience and knowledge our cheesemakers bring to each cheese they craft that makes all the difference.
Read more about how we make our cheese.
It's not usually possible to speed up time, but in the cheesemaking world, it is. The ageing process is an interesting one. Like an apple ripening faster in the sun, industrial dairies can speed up the ageing process by manipulating its environment, some dairies ageing cheese in as little as three months before it hits the shelves. They say good things come to those who wait and at 24 months old, Quicke’s Vintage Clothbound Cheddar is the longest naturally matured clothbound cheddar in the world. It’s the slow maturation process that is so important in allowing our signature complex flavours to develop.
Read more about our maturating process.
So, grab a blanket, choose a good book, pour a glass of wine and slice into a wedge that's been made slowly, for you to enjoy slowly and mindfully.