Old Winchester is based on a Gouda recipe. Gouda recipes call for the cut curds to be washed after draining. This removes lactic acid from the curd, making Gouda characteristically sweeter and also prolonging its life. Various tweaks to the original recipe has led to this Gouda/Parmesan/Cheddar cross, and a cheese that is unique to the Smales family.
On their farm in New Forest, Mike and Judy Smales make this modern British classic. In 2000, 30 years after they first started farming, the decline in milk prices led them to find an alternative outlet for their milk. So, with the milk of a herd of 180 cows and a basic Gouda recipe they began. Lyburn Gold was their first creation: a young semi-hard Gouda, with a meadowy, buttercup taste. After the first year, Mike and Judy nervously entered the British Cheese Awards, and medals followed.
Since then, the Smales’s cheeses have gone from strength to strength. The further maturing of Lyburn Gold has given birth to Old Winchester (or Old Smales), with the extra maturing adding further depth of flavour and Parmesan-like characteristics. Old Winchester was Gold winner at the 2017 Artisan Cheese Awards.
This cheese has a full flavour, with an underlying sweetness and wonderful crystalline finish that crunches on the tongue.