One of only 3 recognised producers of Artisan Somerset Cheddar by Slow Food, traditional Westcombe Cheddar is bound in cloth and larded before maturation of 11 – 18 months. It’s been made that way since 1890.
Aptly described as ‘toothsome’ by the folks at Neal’s Yard Dairy, its dense texture gives way to a full-flavoured cheese that reflects the season when it was produced. Cheese Maker Tom Calver likes it this way. He explains:
“For us, making the best cheese we can means making the most honest cheese – cheese that fully expresses our terroir here in Somerset, capturing the best qualities of each season, and is crafted in balance with nature”.
Balance is a primary focus of Westcombe Dairy. The link between pasture, milk quality and flavour in cheese has led them to employ holistic, sustainable practices across their business. Regenerative farming helps to increase the fertility and biodiversity of the soil. Converting their herd from high-volume Friesians to lower-volume Dairy Short Horns, has improved the quality of their milk. Hiring product experts in agriculture, cheese making and cheese maturation, brings skilled hands and minds together to collaborate on their joint initiatives and in 2016 – constructing an underground cheese cellar that is naturally cooled and humidified by the spring that passes around it utilises a natural source on the farm in place of modern refrigeration.
Working to be better custodians of the land, Tom and his team are creating something special at Westcombe Dairy. You can taste it in the cheese.