One thing we do know about Cheshire cheese is that is was the most popular cheese on the market in the 18th century with almost every farm in Cheshire and the surrounding areas producing Farmhouse Cheshire cheese.
In 1758 the Royal Navy ordered that the ships be loaded with Cheshire cheese for each voyage and in 1823 the county produced 10,000 tonnes of Cheshire cheese per annum rising to 12,000 in 1870.
Until the mid 19th century Cheshire cheeses were matured to varying ages and hardness to withstand the rigours of transport, by horse and cart to various nearby markets and London where it was popular with the gentry and featured on the menus of the leading London clubs of the time.
This version of Cheshire cheese is made at Malpas on the Cheshire and Welsh borders by John Bourne whose family have been making cheese since 1750 and on the same farm from the early part of the last century.
Each cheese is made with pasteurised milk and vegetarian rennet by John and his head cheesemaker Paul who lovingly mix the starter and rennet to the Friesian milk before allowing the curds and whey to form.
The whey is then drained off, some to provide calf feed and some to make butter with whilst the curds are pressed in cylindrical moulds for 36 hours before being allowed to mature for up to 3 to 4 months.
Each cheese is encased in wax to prevent moisture loss and to keep the cheese crumbly and true to its traditional taste which should be slightly salty due to the vast deposits of salt found underneath the Cheshire grasslands.