With most things in life you get out what you put in, and it’s the same with our clothbound cheddar.
From the cows we breed to the grass they eat, the rich Devon land and the changing of the seasons, every little nuance of our lives here at Home Farm goes into our cheese. So how the cheese tastes very much depends on the time of year that the milk was made, with spring cheese being the creamiest.
The work of cheesemaking requires extraordinary strength and delicate precision in equal measures, but it’s this human touch that gives us the outstanding cheese that we’re famed for. And this attention to detail doesn’t stop when we wrap the cheese in cloth and press it into moulds, for it’s as much about how the cheese is cared for from this point onwards that makes it what it is.
When they leave the dairy, our truckles of cheese move to a ripening room in our nursery stores where they settle on wooden racks, turned by hand, week by week. After three months we move the truckles to the main store and then turn them every 10 days using counterweighted racks which allow us to turn four cheeses at a time, but still by hand.
And then they wait. Slowly maturing in the cool and quiet of the store, wrapped in muslin which allows them to breathe, their flavour slowly intensifying. Slowly the mould starts to form on the rind of each cheese, creating an earthy, almost horseradishy flavour, the hallmark of a traditional clothbound cheddar.
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.
And you may be surprised at just how many different flavours are present in even a single wedge of cheese.
Follow the line of the wedge to cut your cheese from nose to rind and you’ll find a spectrum of flavours you might miss out on if you cube your cheese. Flavours range from earthy and horseradishy near the rind through to nutty hints in the middle and then a buttery, tangy taste at the nose.
So the answer to what’s in a wedge?
Well, every stage of the farming, cheese making and maturation process plays its part in achieving the fantastic flavours present in each cheese. We delight in the natural variation from season to season, slice to slice and from nose to rind and invite you to do the same.