Deli Shack Food Heroes – White Lake Cheeses, Somerset
Think about goats cheese and what do you get, a warm fragrant slice of dreamy cheese that makes a warm salad the toast of the town, or a smelly old billy goat standing around in a field, perhaps munching down the farmers underwear off the washing line.
Well, if you like goats cheese then I think I know the answer, but if you’re not turned on by it then at least let me tell you that there are lots of different options available, many of which are so light I doubt you be able to tell which beastie produced it.
So onto my hero for the week and this time it goes to an award-winning cheese producer from Somerset called White Lake Cheeses, just down the road from Glastonbury in fact.
Working on the basis of ‘good stuff in, good stuff out’ Roger Longman of White Lake Cheese believes that contrary to popular belief goats are on the whole are very particular about what they eat, so he’s careful to ensure that they’re fed a balanced mixture of home-grown red clover, maize silage, sugar beet and compound feed. Not my personal idea of heaven, but the goats seem to thrive on it.
The herd is a wonderful mixture of breeds: white Saanen, brown and white Toggenburg, black and white British Alpine and some magnificent Anglo-Nubians with huge, pendulous ears
Altogether, the different breeds produce milk with just the right balance of proteins for the cheese, although Roger admits it is not an exact science. They are milked twice daily, just like cows, and each goat produces about two-and-a-half litres per day. Any excess gets shipped down the road to be made into yoghurt, butter and bottled milk.
He said: “There is a genuine shortage of goat’s milk in the country, particularly with the growing demand from people who have an allergy to cow’s milk.”
I’ve chosen Rachel, not only because it’s fantastic or because it’s a multi-award winner, no. In the end I chose it because, apparently, it was named after the maker’s girlfriend who was ‘sweet, curvy and just a little nutty’… Well, that’s not strictly the reason that I chose it, but it’s a nice thought isn’t it?
This delicious cheese has a relatively strong flavour, due in part to the fact that the rind is washed in a brine solution through the maturing process to give the cheese a sticky and unctuous outer rind which gives the finished article an nice ‘nose’.
Try some the next time you’re looking for a nice cheese to melt over roasted vegetables, it’s unbeatable.
Iain Thompson is a trained chef and runs a fine meat and cheese business from the PannierMarket in Tiverton where he sells some of the finest produce the regionhas to offer as well as regaling their customers with fabulous oldWestcountry stories and entertaining with simple, innovative cookerytheatre.
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