Lancaster House Head Chef, Damian Ng, and Food and Beverage Manager, Gary Tennant, have been out on the cheese trail again. This time, the Tasty Cheese Trail. Taking a few of Damian’s cheese recipes and a determination to find a few new innovate flavours, they called in at the famous Mrs Kirkham’s and Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses.
Head Chef, Damian (left) and F & B Manager, Gary, out on the trail for cheese[/caption]
The Tasty Cheese Trail is a six mile circular route along footpaths and tracks, with no less than three dairies located along the way. The walk starts and finishes in Inglewhite in the heart of Lancashire cheese country, in the shadow of Beacon Fell, which lends its name to Beacon Fell Traditional Lancashire Cheese which gain EU protected status in 2007.
Gary and Damian are joined by an unexpected guest when they stop for a bite of lunch[/caption]
Historically, ‘tasty’ is the oldest type of Lancashire cheese, but also the cheese left to age the longest. It has a light open texture and a flavour made ‘nutty’ by at least three months maturation. This is a favourite for a traditional ploughman’s lunch or as part of a cheese board.
First stop on the trail was to visit Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses where Peter Elvin, Marketing Manager, showed Gary and Damian around the dairy at Wilson Fields Farm. This is also the home of third generation of Barker family cheese makers and the lads enjoyed a welcome cup of tea by the Aga in the quintessential English farmhouse kitchen.
Milk is collected each morning from local farms before the age-old traditional process begins, still made by hand in open vats. Each cheese takes three days to make and is matured for up to fourteen months.
Gary and Damian meet Peter Elvin, Marketing Manager[/caption]
Peter introduced Gary and Damian to Tim Fisher, Butler’s head cheese maker and fount of all local cheese knowledge. Butlers produce a Traditional Farmhouse Lancashire cheese to their closely guarded family recipe, but there’s also a selection of goats cheeses, and a British brie. And of course, this is the home of famous Blacksticks Blue ‘A taste of the unexpected’. We were also treated to Button Mill, one of their latest creations. Let’s just say that it was so delightfully creamy and flavoursome that, due to limited initial supply, we may need to start a cheese war!
The sign might say 2007, but Mrs Kirkham’s cheese has been produced for a lot longer. In fact Ruth Kirkham, assisted by her husband John, started producing the famous Lancashire cheese in 1978, when her mother retired and passed on the family recipe. Now John and Ruth’s son, Graham, has picked up the baton, installing a brand new dairy and state-of-the-art milking parlour for their herd of 100 cows.
Gary and Damian meet Jimmy, one of the cheese makers at Mrs Kirkham’s[/caption]
Rightly proud of their Traditional Lancashire cows milk cheese, using only milk from their own herd, Mrs Kirkham’s was declared ‘Best Artisan Cheese Producer 2016’ in the World Cheese Awards in October. This is a rich creamy cheese with a ‘buttery crumble’ texture, the only-remaining makers of unpasteurised Farmhouse Lancashire Cheese in the world.
The menu at Lancaster House Foodworks Restaurant will always showcase the best of local produce.
Lancaster House Head Chef, Damien Ng.
The artisan cheese makers on our doorstep are an important part of Lancashire’s rich food heritage and in the months to come we look forward to working with the local dairies to create new and exciting dishes that will feature on the Lancaster House Foodworks menu.