Say Cheese…

PUBLISHED: 11:35 10 July 2009 | UPDATED: 08:56 21 February 2013

say Shropshire if you want tasty and local Cheesed off with Cheddar? Jaded by Jarlsberg? Don't be cheese bored! There are dozens of exciting varieties being produced in the Heart of England, with more styles emerging all the time as our ha...

Cheesed off with Cheddar? Jaded by Jarlsberg? Don't be cheese bored! There are dozens of exciting varieties being produced in the Heart of England, with more styles emerging all the time as our hard working dairy farmers look for new outlets for their superb quality milk and enthusiastic rural entrepreneurs pick up the reins and get creative.

This new wave of Shropshire cheesemakers are combining centuries of old English craft and skill with a modern approach that is resulting in exciting takes on traditional favourites, such as Appleby's Hawkstone Cheshire, and some entirely new cheeses, like the Shropshire Cheese Company's Shropshire Red and Marches Blue or Mr Moyden's Newport, that are fast becoming regional hallmarks.

The Shropshire Cheese Company won first place in the dairy category of the HEFF Diamond Awards, launched this year as a fitting tribute to coincide with our tenth anniversary celebrations, judges praised the company's Marches Blue cheese for having a 'beautiful consistent rind' and 'very creamy palate'.

The company was formed by the Eyres family as a diversification from their dairy herd at Abertanat Farm near Oswestry. Robert, Rena and sons Stuart and Ryan manage a 150-strong Holstein/Friesian herd but only started producing cheese in January 2007. Their cheeses include Shropshire Red, Tanatside, Smoked Tanatside, Tanatside with Apricots, Tanatside with Cranberries and Abertanat Cheddar.

Appleby's Cheshire was recently voted top of the class At The Great Yorkshire Show

The winning cheese was made on May 1st 2008 and at 9 to 10 weeks in age, is the way the Appleby family most enjoy the cheese; it is the optimum age delivering a rich balanced flavour. Appleby's Cheshire can mature on for several months, developing a richer stronger flavour. Mature Appleby's is often found on restaurant cheese boards, where a small amount is savoured.

During the 9 to 10 weeks that this May 1st cheese was developing flavour for customers to enjoy, it was lovingly tended by the team. The cheese was turned and rubbed by hand every day for the first two weeks, with this gradually scaling down to two to three times a week depending on the weather conditions. Each day of cheese made at Appleby's is looked after individually and every day a unique product is created, to be enjoyed by customers all over the world.

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