Cheese of the month – November – Quicke’s

Every now and then we venture across the Tamar to Devon to supplement our range of fantastic Cornish produce. We do this only when the quality is exceptional and there is no Cornish product of equivalent type or quality.  Quicke’s magnificent clothbound cheeses, hand-made on their farm just outside Exeter, fall into this category because Cornwall, despite its fine collection of artisan cheesemakers, does not have a producer of traditional clothbound cheddars.  

Every morning the Quicke’s herdspeople walk their grass-fed cows across the fields to the dairy, where the fresh milk is transferred into enormous vats, into which the cheesemakers add their prized starter culture. This is an art in itself, increasing the acidity and beginning the process of creating each cheese’s complex flavour profile. 

Next they add natural rennet to separate the curds (the milk solids that will become cheese) and the whey (which they use to enrich the pastures that the cows graze on). Nothing is wasted. 

The curds are then allowed to settle, forming a dense golden blanket of young curd before the cheesemakers get hands-on, cutting the curd into large strips and turning it by hand to allow the last remnants of whey to drain away. This is the “cheddaring” process, essential to the creation of genuine farmhouse cheddar. 

Once the cheesemakers have cheddared the curd to perfection, it’s carefully milled to give the finished cheeses their pleasingly even texture. They add a shake of Cornish sea salt and then each cheese is wrapped by hand in muslin, allowing it to breathe as it matures, slowly in the cool quiet of their stores.  

The cheeses are placed lovingly into traditional wooden racks in the ‘nursery store’, where the first flushes of maturation begin to show. After around three months the cheeses are moved from this higher humidity store into the ‘Cathedral of Cheese’ to continue on the ageing process. Here the clothbound truckles are turned every ten days to maintain an even texture as they mature for up to two years. 

This cool, dark hall of cheese has been likened to a vast gallery of exquisite Pollock-esque paintings. Each rind displays a spectrum of texture and colour from camo-green to bright orange.  

The mould garden grows on the clothbound cheese, creating a rich, horseradish flavour under the rind – one of the distinguishing hallmarks of Quicke’s cheese. The maturation is when Quicke’s unique range of delicious flavours really emerges. 

The range of Quicke’s cheddars on our deli includes both cow and goat milk varieties of varying strengths. Extra Mature Clothbound Cheddar – typically aged for around 18 months is our cheese of the month for November. 

Using a centuries-old traditional recipe, it is wonderfully rich and rounded with a deep, complex balance of flavours. Most recently this stunning cheddar won the People’s Choice Award at the Great British & Irish Cheddar Challenge 2023. Come and taste this cheese at our deli counter each weekend during November or join us on Friday 17 November for a special tasting day and learn a little more about the cheese while enjoying a nibble.