We are so very proud of winning a Silver at Nantwich 2012 for our Superior Goat.
In a strange way, it seems a greater honour to win a Silver for our new Superior Goat than it does to win a Gold for our Matured Natural Rinded Goat cheese because it is something that we have been making for only three months and it is our best selling cheese.
The main reason for this is that until April 2012, this was a cheese that was made for us, a historical accident and something that until recently we were not geared up to make because of the sheer volumes involved – there are only three of us!
We only started commercial production three months ago, after 18 months of trials. This is our best selling cheese: we sell on average a tonne a month so it was a tremendous risk to make our best selling cheese ourselves after years of other people making it for us. The shape is slightly different, but we think the texture and taste is very similar, if not better than the old style, certainly, our wholesaler tasting panels thought so.
We now make around 7 goat cheeses ourselves: Superior Goat, Smoked Superior
Goat, Original Goat, Smoked Original Goat, Matured Natural Rinded Goat, unpasteurised goat cheese and Original Goat with Cranberry. The Superior Goat, Natural Rinded Goat and the Original Goat all won awards at Nantwich this year and the unpasteurised Goat won a second prize at the Yorkshire Show this year. The Original Goat and Natural Rinded Matured goat both won awards at the Great Taste Awards 2011 along with our Old Tyme Wensleydale. We still make sheep cheese and award winning Wensleydale.
Superior Goat is a goat gouda and, we think, the only goat gouda made in the UK, unless you know differently. Making gouda is a completely different way of making cheese, so quite a steep learning curve for us and a few mistakes on the way, but better to make the mistakes to know where we went wrong so that we do not repeat them!
Gouda involves washing the curd and scooping it out of the vat and brining rather than the usual whey off, block, turn, cut, shovel, salt and mill.
Our Superior Goat, goat gouda is a semi-soft cheese with a very dense, smooth and creamy paste with a slight tang. We try to mature it to around 2 months but sometimes it goes out of the door a week early, which we feel is ok because by the
time it reaches the end consumer it will have had time to finish maturing; it gets better the older it is, though our problem is not having enough milk!
We also make a smoked version in brown wax, which we smoke ourselves over oak chipping from Theakstons
Brewery who still make their own barrels – their waste is our input, which I love.
PS: to John the Cheesemaker, he knows who he is, congratulations on the gazillions of awards you won at Nantwich 2012 – your blues looked fabulous – well done! And congratulations to Chris Sandham, well done, we love your Lancashire cheese and a final congrats to George the cheese maker at Applebys, your unpasteurised coloured Cheshire was definitely the best cheese I tried at Nantwich this year; loved it!