Gunn's Hill is the result of years of dreaming and planning by owner, operator and cheesemaker Shep Ysselstein. Shep's grandfather founded the neighbouring dairy farm, and his passion and talent was passed down to his grandchildren, leading Shep to hone his cheesemaking skills in both the US and Canada. It was his time spent abroad in the Swiss Alps, however, that saw him truly fall in love with the art of cheesemaking, returning back to the rich terroir of Oxford County to both honour the legacy of the land and make his own mark on the artisan cheese world.
Today, Gunn's Hill produces several different artisan cheeses inspired heavily by the techniques and recipes Shep learned while overseas. There is no better example of this than their award-winning Five Brothers, which arrives to us in four kilogram wheels and is a cross between a Swiss Appenzeller and Dutch Gouda-style cheese.
Good quality cheese comes from good milk, and Shep believes that the very best comes from the neighbouring family dairy farm which is still run by his father and brother. Every two days, fresh milk from their herd of 120 Holsteins arrives and is used right away to make cheese.
Washed by hand with brine during its refining process, Five Brothers begins to develop a natural, stone-coloured rind. It is further aged for up to nine months on cedar wood planks, which adds robust flavours of roasted peanuts and an earthy, nutty sweetness to its flavour profile. It takes 1500 litres of milk to create just 30 wheels of Five Brothers, and Shep indicates the recipe needs to be tweaked seasonally to ensure it stays consistent.
With a rich and creamy mouthfeel and distinctive eyes scattered throughout the body of the cheese, Five Brothers is a shop favourite and a true celebration of all that is amazing about cheese - part art, part science, and one hundred percent delicious.