I recently caught up with Richard Calver who runs a fantastic UK Dairy business that has diversified to offer several different products to the market, whilst having it’s roots firmly placed in milk production.
Milton-Westcombe Farms comprises of two dairy herds in Somerset. Cheese has been made on the farm for over one hundred years. In around 1900 Edith Cannon who lived at Milton Farm won the prize for the best cheddar in the British Empire. She went on to found a cheese school at Palace Farm in Wells with the Bath and West Society.
The business started making cheese again at Westcombe in 1999 using elements of Ediths make, with raw milk from the farm’s cows. Westcombe also make a Caerphilly cheese in their dairy.
Diversification came about because the business wanted to have more control of the marketing of our milk and the family were passionate about producing really good products which reflect the care they have for their animals and the land.
Richard farms in a very sustainable way using minimum fertilizers and chemicals, with the cows grazing outside for much of the year.
Westcombe use special strains of starter cultures and the cheddar is stored underground in a recently constructed cave. The way Westcombe dairy farm and produce their cheese is reflected in its flavour.
Their website Westcombe dairy gives more information and there is also a useful video on it called Craft the Art of Making Cheddar on https://westcombedairy.com.
Westcombe cheese is available in many specialists cheese shop and also in some branches of Waitrose and Marks and Spencer.
Richard’s son Tom was trained as a chef and uses the following recipe for events. They both think it’s a fitting recipe for busy parents and it’s certainly got my taste buds tingling.
I think it’s a clever take on cheese on toast, whilst baking in your 5-a-day!
Eight slices of sourdough bread
One nob of butter
One half red onion finely chopped
One half leek finely chopped
150 grams grated Westcombe Cheddar
Favourite pickled vegetables to serve
Mix onions and leeks and cheese together add salt and pepper. Butter one side of the slices of bread and put a generous amounts of mixture on the side of the bread which is not buttered. place another slice of bread on top with the buttered side upwards. Place onto a hot frying pan put tin foil on top and weigh down with a heavy pan. Cook for two minutes or until slightly brown then turn over to cook again with the tin foil on top until the cheese oozes out or the sides. Transfer onto a board, cut in half and serve with pickled vegetables.
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