What is Cornwall famous for? Right now most people in the UK, or even the world, might say Poldark. The runners up could be pasties, holidays, surfing or separatism, but we’re willing to bet that cheese isn’t going to be one of the first things that springs to most people’s minds. And that’s a shame. Because Kernow makes awesome cheeses.
A very different circle of cheese from the traditional English ones like Stilton or other blues, the Cornish Blue is a cheese intended to be eaten young (the cheese, not the eater – it’s suitable for diners of most ages), and is made only by the Cornish Cheese Company near Upton Cross in Cornwall. This farmhouse cheese (Stansfield’s Farm on Bodmin Moor to be precise) has won a number of awards, including the World Cheese Awards Champion Cheese in 2010 and the Best Blue and English Cheese in 2007.
With cheeses named Miss Muffet, Cornish Crumbly, Smuggler and Trelawny, one cannot deny that Whalesborough’s commitment to Cornishness is clear. Based in a farm on the North Cornish coast, they hand make lovely award winning cheeses in small quantities to their own unique recipes which have been developed over the last fourteen years. Cheese making began in 1999 in a disused stable, with their own cows originally providing the milk for the cheese making. Using milk churns to transport the milk and tractor weights to press the cheeses, they worked to develop a range of products that are both popular and different.The milk is still sourced from local Cornish farms, and the farm is committed to sustainability, with no plastic used in their packaging, and all the electricity in the dairy provided by a wind turbine.
Cornish Yarg is a not quite hard yellow cheese, made by Lynher Dairies from an ancient recipe with the milk of local Friesian cows. It’s distinguished by its casing which is made from humble but attractive (and edible) locally foraged wild nettle leaves, which form a hard and sometimes mouldy rind when the cheese is matured. It’s exceptionally tasty, and quite rare to find a cheese fan who doesn’t enjoy it, since the texture varies from creamy under the rind through harder until quite crumbly in the centre. There’s also a version wrapped in wild garlic leaves, which is unsurprisingly named Wild Garlic Yarg.
Cheddar cheese is of course found all over the world, though the recipe originates from the village of Cheddar in Somerset. Unfortunately for Cheddar, the nomenclature does not have a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) such as that enjoyed by, for instance, the Cornish pasty. It would be churlish retrospectively to apply it, of course, because Cheddar is by far the most popular cheese in Britain and the second most popular in the United States. What is less well known, however, is that the best example of this cheese (arguably) comes from Davidstow in Cornwall. Manufactured alongside its ubiquitous sister brand Cathedral City, the Davidstow brand of cheese is produced with milk supplied by local Cornish farmers and is one of Britain’s most popular mature cheeses (there’s an extra mature version too). Padstow’s celebrity chef Rick Stein has been associated with a brand of savoury oat cakes to accompany Davidstow cheddar, and it’s also used by the famous chef Nathan Outlaw at his famous two Michelin star restaurant in the village of Port Isaac.