Sunday, 24 October 2021

Artisan cheese wins award only months after invention

A CHEESE made in Nettlebed has won an award just eight months after it went into production.

A CHEESE made in Nettlebed has won an award just eight months after it went into production.

St Bartholomew, which is made by the Nettlebed Creamery, took a bronze award in the semi-hard cheese category at the Artisan Cheese Fair in Melton Mowbray.

Farmer Rose Grimond began making the “alpine-style” cheese in January last year after converting a barn at Manor Farm into a creamery.

After tweaking the recipe, she began producing St Bartholomew in quantity in September.

Mrs Grimond, 36, said: “I didn’t think we would get an award this early on in the process. I am thrilled.

“It’s hugely satisfying and it’s all credit to the team here at the creamery.” She thanked her cheesemakers Tee Scotthorne and Ali Lees and book-keeper Karen Cooper.

She also paid tribute to milk transport manager Neal Horner and Rachel Yarrow, whose goat’s cheese business is also based at the creamery and helped out while she was on maternity leave.

St Bartholomew is made from unpasteurised organic milk from a herd of more 140 cows at Merrimoles Farm in Bix, which is part of the Nettlebed Estate.

The first of the morning’s milk is delivered to the creamery at udder temperature, about 34C, and is then heated to 50C to activate thermophilic starter cultures.

Traditional calf rennet is added. After the set, staff cut the curds to the size of hazelnuts and siphon off some of the whey before they start hand- ladling the curds into the moulds. By 9.30am it has infant cheeses.

The cheese has a nutty flavour that develops complexity with age. Staff wash the rind for the first two weeks of the cheese’s life before allowing it to mature and develop a natural rind with blue-grey moulds.

The cheese is named after the saint of the village church, which is next door to the creamery, while Bartholomew was also the patron saint of the cheesemongers of Florence.

The creamery now also makes Bix, a triple cream cheese, due to be launched next week. Mrs Grimond, a mother-of-three who is married to the author James Scudamore, said her dream was to walk into a fromager in Paris and see her cheese on the shelf.

Her mother Kate co-owns the farm with her aunt, Lucy Fleming. The Nettlebed Estate has been in the Fleming family since 1901.

Meanwhile, a free range, rare breed pork and beef producer in Ipsden has missed out on an award.

Farm shop Blue Tin Produce, which is based at Garsdon Farm, was a finalist in the local food category of the Countryside Alliance Awards after being nominated by a customer.

The winner was the Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop in Cambridge.

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