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Westcombe Cheddar

Westcombe Cheddar is a truly artisan Cheddar. Originating from Somerset, the Cheddar has a rich, deep and complex flavour.

Cheese has been made at Westcombe Farm since the 1890’s and it now remains as one of the last three traditional cheddars to be made in Somerset; along with Keens and Montgomery’s, all three have been recognised by the Slow Food movement.

£2.65

Quantity: 100g

Quantity: 100g

Ingredients: Milk (Cow, Goat, Buffalo or Ewe’s Milk), Salt, Starter Culture, Rennet.

For allergens, please see ingredients.

Product Description

Westcombe Cheddar is a truly artisan Cheddar. Originating from Somerset, the Cheddar has a rich, deep and complex flavour.

Cheese has been made at Westcombe Farm since the 1890’s and it now remains as one of the last three traditional cheddars to be made in Somerset; along with Keens and Montgomery’s, all three have been recognised by the Slow Food movement.

The Slow Food movement was established in 1986 as an alternative to Fast Food.  It promotes sourcing local food and traditional cooking methods.  It champions causes that denounces food waste and over production; its focus is on food quality rather than quantity.

Westcombe Cheddar was granted PDO status (Protected Designation of Origin) in 1996.  To achieve the PDO status, the cheese must be made in Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, it can then be called a West Country Farmhouse Cheddar.  Also, the cheese must have been made on the farm using milk from that area and left to mature for at least 9 months in the farms dairy. The Cheddar must not contain any colouring, flavourings or preservatives and can only be made using traditional methods such as Cheddaring.

Although the milk is unpasteurised it is still suitable for pregnant woman to eat, according to the NHS guidelines, but as it uses animal rennet it is not suitable for Vegetarians.

Westcombe cheddar is made by Tom Calver and his family to a time honoured recipe devised by Mrs Brickell in the 1890s. Toms family farm two farms originally with a herd of 400 Friesian cattle but recently these have been replaced by a herd of British Shorthorns, a heritage breed whose diet is solely that of grass and silage found on Westcombe Farm in Evercreech.

The fresh warm milk reaches the dairy soon after milking and is poured into the large vats whilst it’s still warm from the cows. Each cheese is lovingly made by hand, with the curds cut and stacked in the vat.  Layer upon layer to allow the excess whey to drain away.  This process is known as Cheddaring.

The curds are then passed through an old peg mill, to mill them down to small cubes; this allows more liquid to drain away.  The drier the curd the harder the Cheese.  Salt is then added and the cubes pressed into large cylindrical cheddar moulds. After a few months the cheese is wrapped in larded cloth, stored on wooden shelves and left to mature for up to 18 months and, sometimes, much longer.

The back breaking task of turning the cheeses has recently been given over to an automated turning machine, lovingly known as Tina the Turner. The Cheese is turned so that it  dries out in a consistent manner; this produces cheese that is uniform from the edge to the centre.  Turning the cheese also produces the perfect shape that the family require. Tom Calver has spent many years honing both the Cheddar recipe and the maturing process.

Tom’s father, Richard, has worked on improving the quality of the cows feed; this produces milk that has a higher percentage of fat and protein content.  This attention to detail produces an outstanding Cheddar that truly deserves it PDO status.

The cheddar has a rich and mellow taste with long notes of hazelnut, caramel and citrus that will stay on the pallet.  Somerset legend states that Cheddars like this should “have 5 miles of taste” meaning that the taste will stay with you 5 miles down the road!

Westcombe Cheddar won Best Cheddar at The British Cheese Awards 2017 and again in 2018.

A great recipe idea is to crumble Westcombe Cheddar into a dish of scrambled eggs for a tasty supper or lunchtime snack.  It appears as the main ingredient in a delicious and tasty British Asparagus Westombe Cheddar tart  by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Of course, it’s can also be the star of a traditional Ploughmans lunch accompanied by a hunk of crusty bread and some farmhouse butter.  Cheshire Chutney Co’s Victorian Chutney, or their Piccalilli, make a perfect accompaniment to Westcombe Cheddar and, not forgetting, that all important Toms Tap House luncheon beer or their cloudy cider.

This Cheddar cheese is best at room temperature. Remove from the fridge when you open your bottle of wine; thus allowing the temperature of the cheese to rise.

When you have finished, resist the temptation to wrap the cheese in cling film or place in an air tight container.  Cheese needs to breathe or it will sweat.  So rewrap in the wax paper your cheese monger used and place it in the crisper draw of your fridge.  Cheese stored like this will keep for up to 14 days from the date it was cut by your cheesemonger.  If some white blooming appears, it is totally natural, don’t be concerned, just remove it and enjoy the remainder of your Westcombe Cheddar.