On a recent trip up to the northern wilds, I stopped off at the really rather good Lower Sizergh Barn farm shop, which is the kind of place you go in thinking “I’m just here to get one thing…” and end up staggering out laden with a load of treats you just couldn’t resist.
In this case, I went specifically to pick up some of their excellent Cumbrian Chorizo, and ended up with various jams, condiments, a couple of beers and the following selection of local cheeses.
Here’s a not very great picture (must get a better camera for food!) of the cheese board. And here’s my tasting notes:
Trotter Hill is a rich, rinded, tasty Lancashire with a slightly crumbly but firm bite that melts to a creamy consistency in the mouth. It has a rich mature, almost cheddar like flavour but with a very strong Lancashire tang. Probably one of my favourite Lancashires, although for some of my friends its strong taste is almost too much.
I also tried it melted on toast with Entwhistle’s excellent Lancashire Sauce (also from Lower Sizergh, natch) – kind of a little like Worcestershire sauce (but without the fish) crossed with a flavour reminiscent of the kind of curry sauce you get up North with your chips. I think you can guess how good it tastes on cheese on toast.
Swaledale with Old Peculiar – Swaledale is of course technically in the Yorkshire Dales, but I’m appropriating it from our white rose brethren for the purposes of this cheese board. Plus Swaledale is a stunningly beautiful place.
The cheese has a pale, almost mottled colour, possibly from the soaking in Old Peculiar its had. It’s quite mild and moist, but the the beer gives it an endnote tang which has a distinct subtle sweet ale flavour. Interesting, but I’m not sure I’d rush out to buy more.
Croglin – This is an ewes milk cheese from Cumbria, made at the Thornby Moor Dairy near Croglin. It has a thick ridged rind, the cheese itself is quite small, so you get a very pale crumbly centre, grading out to darker yellow/brown by the rind. The taste is very like a rich mature goats cheese, especially nearer the rind where it tends to that “blue” cheese flavour. The centre is crumblier with more of a tang. Its very strong flavour divided people. I enjoyed it, but in small portions.
Withnail Blue – Looks a bit like paler version of Blacksticks blue, very creamy start with a rich strong blue finish. Like a more robust Dolcelatte in flavour, much less sweet, a very nice cheese this. Apparently is made on a farm near where “Withnail & I” was filmed, and the blue mould streaks are induced by pushing nails into the cheese, hence the name. The kind of thing one might indulge in whilst… “surrounded by trees and nature, one feels a glorious stirring of the senses, a rejection of poisonous inhibition and a fecund motion of the soul”
Dolphinholme goats cheese – From Dolphinholme House Farm. Very white, the colour of lard or mozarella, with a creamy, firm to semi-soft texture – close to Port Salut I guess? Lovely smooth flavour with a subtle nutty finish reminscent of an Emmental. Not very “goat-y” but all the better for it. Really fresh and summery. I could eat this for days… Everyone loved this who tasted it. Could almost be pared with sweet things in a cheesecake maybe?
Organic Kendal Crumbly – This is made with milk from Lower Sizergh’s own cows, a superb example of a crumbly Lancashire. Great texture, not too crumb-y crumbs, mild to start but with a complex finish. Ideal if you don’t like the full-on tasty Lancashire cheeses but find the creamy and the milder crumblies too bland. This would make a killer cheese sauce for cauliflower or brocolli cheese. Also melted some of this on toast and had with the Lancashire sauce…