Guide to the very best Cornish cheeses
Cornwall is renown for making fabulous cheese many of which have won prestigous awards, including two World Champions! There are now over 60 different types of cheese produced in the country and includes a wide range of types from extra mature gouda to fresh goats cheese.
Cheese-making dates back several millennia, possibly as a means of creating a longer-lasting product from milk - not only from cows but also goats, sheep and even buffalo. The base liquid is curdled, separated, and pressed; the flavour and texture can be influenced by many factors: age, temperature, environment and added seasonings.
As a whole food cheese is a great source of calcium, essential healthy fats and protein. The best cheese to eat is made from grass-fed dairy as it contains much higher levels of omega-6, omega-3 fatty acids and the healthy fats which are great for preventing obesity, heart disease and reducing inflammation. Grass-fed dairy is also far better for the environment and animal welfare.
Cornish cheese is so highly regarded because of the quality of the grazing. Cornwall has an especially temperate climate which extends the grass growing season. The abundance of grass means that cows produce milk with the highest percentage butterfat content in England and Wales (an average 4.33% compared with 4.1%). A high level of carotene is also found in the grass which contributions to its rich buttery colour. Added to this is the diverse range of grasses and herbs that many of the herd graze on - all contributing to the rich creamy milk that goes in to making the cheeses.
We’ve picked out some of our favourites to include in our ever-popular Cheese Hampers and our Cheese & Charcuterie Hampers. These cheeses all come from fantastic artisan producers, so you know whomever you choose to send a gift hamper will be delighted with the quality of the cheeses.
Whalesborough Cheese Based in Marhamchurch near Bude, Sue Proudfoot and her family have been winning awards for their small-batch cheeses for almost a quarter-century. Best-sellers include traditional Cornish farmhouse cheese Trelawny and Miss Muffet, a continental-style washed curd cheese with a nutty, creamy flavour – both boast a pink/grey natural mould rind, unique to the Whalesborough maturing room. You will smell Keltic Gold coming – this washed rind cheese is dipped thrice weekly in local cider for a full, sweet flavour, and is so pungent it has its own maturing room. All three have been showered with praise, from the Great Taste Awards to the Nantwich International Cheese Show.
Cornish Blue The first blue cheese to be made in Cornwall, this award-winner was created as a new revenue stream for Phillip and Carol Stansfield, who had identified a gap in the market for a British-made blue cheese milder than the existing corkers on the market. Their hunch was correct: Cornish Blue was named World Champion Cheese, 2010. Cornish Blue is a creamy, blue-veined cheese made from cow's milk. It is similar in style to classic European blues but with a distinct Cornish character. This cheese is rich, buttery, and has a well-balanced blue flavor that is both creamy and tangy. The Liskeard dairy now produces a goat’s milk alternative (Cornish Nanny) and recently branched out into Brie.
Cornish Gouda Authentic Dutch cheese, made in Lanreath. You read that right - the Spierings family moved from the Netherlands to Cornwall in 1998 and started a small dairy farm, but almost shut up shop in 2012 due to poor milk prices. Youngest son Giel pledged to make the farm viable by diversifying into cheese production, using traditional Gouda techniques. Now parents Joost and Annemarie farm, Giel makes the cheese and brother Jan manages the crops to feed their pedigree herd. Choose from semi-mature, mature and extra-mature varieties, as well as flavourings including fenugreek. Cornish Gouda is smooth, buttery, and slightly sweet, with a nutty flavor.
Lynher Dairies This small dairy in Ponsanooth has some cheeses of impressive pedigree in its stable. Distinctive nettle-wrapped Yarg was first produced in the 1980s when Bodmin Moor farmer Alan Gray found a 17th-century recipe in his attic and named it after himself (spell it backwards!). It now comes in original Cornish and Wild Garlic varieties. Cornish Yarg is a semi-hard, cow's milk cheese known for its unique appearance. When wrapped in nettles they impart a slightly earthy, mushroom-like flavor and a striking green and white rind. The interior of Cornish Yarg is creamy and mild, with a slightly crumbly texture and a gentle tang.
Kern, meanwhile, means “round” in Kernewek (Cornish); this mature farmhouse cheese achieved global superstar status when it won Supreme Champion at the World Cheese Awards in 2017. Cornish Kern is a hard cheese made using raw cow's milk. It is carefully matured for a minimum of 16 months to develop its intense flavor. This cheese is robust and complex, with a nutty and caramelized undertone, making it a delightful choice for cheese connoisseurs.All are handmade by Catherine Mead and her team, using creamy Ayrshire milk.
Curds & Croust Martin Gaylard in East Taphouse has been making soft cheeses since he was in short trousers, and knows from experience that the secret lies in using the best ingredients to produce a really good curd. He takes inspiration from across the Channel: Miss Wenna is a mellow Cornish Brie, Boy Laity a rich, bold Camembert. We also stock Nanny Florrie, a decadent, sweet and nutty soft goat’s cheese. As for the name: Curd is self-explanatory, but did you know Croust is a Cornish term for a simple tasty snack mid-morning or afternoon?
Our foodie gift hampers are the perfect present to send for those hard to buy for people. If they are a real cheese lover, our Cheese Hampers will go down a treat. They are the perfect gift to send for Christmas, birthdays, or for any celebration.
The Cornish Cheese Board Hamper is a great gift to send that will definitely be appreciated by the recipient. Containing 5 Cornish cheeses plus all the crackers and chutneys needed, it is the ideal Christmas present.
If you are looking to send a present to share then our Luxury Cheese & Charcuterie Hamper makes a delicious and luxurious gift. Combining artisan cheeses with the finest cured meats and all the accompaniments you’ll need, this hamper for foodies is fantastic value.
All our hampers include free UK delivery and handwritten greetings cards.
Order online at thefinefoodhamper.com