After 25 years of cheesemaking we don't come across many "firsts" in the way that we used to. But last week we tried something that we never have before: we hosted part one of a dairy swap project, with our great friends Tim and Simon of Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese!
How does a dairy swap work?
We invited our great friends to our dairy to make a one off batch of an entirely new cheese: “Somerset Poacher”! In the first of two dairy swaps, our friend Simon Jones, John the head cheesemaker and the rest of the Lincolnshire Poacher team paid us a visit and made a cheese using the special Lincolnshire Poacher recipe, including their starter culture and rennet... but with our milk and equipment instead! As our friends at Lincolnshire Poacher say, "Making the cheese is an unusual blend of art and science" and this project is a bit of both.
What happens next?
Half of this special “Somerset Poacher” make has stayed with us, and half has gone back to Lincolnshire with the team. We promise to take exceptional care of this precious make and are adding some of our own touches to the maturing process, by cloth-binding half of the make, to compare the results when the cheeses are matured. Part two of the dairy swap project will involve us paying a visit to the Lincolnshire Poacher dairy and making a “Lincolnshire Pitchfork”! Keep following us for more updates on this front.
How did we decide to do this?
We have been great friends with Tim and Simon for years and collaborating with them was a natural choice, not to mention great fun! One reason that this project is close to our hearts is that Todd and Simon both trained with cheesemaking legend Dougal Cambell 30 years ago. (He was the legendary maker of Tyn Grug.) The friendships built upon this early link have been super important over the years and only reinforce the bond between these new sister makes.
When will we be able to taste the results of the experiment?
This project is a very long-term commitment and we won’t see the results for at least two years, but when the cheeses are fully matured in Autumn 2024 we are hoping to have a big gathering with all our favourite cheesemaking friends to share the results – watch this space!