Westcombe Smoked Cheddar
Amongst the verdant hills of east Somerset, terroir is – and always has been – vital to producing exceptional cheddar. The combination of lush pastures, plentiful spring water, rolling hills and cool mists all contribute to the milk that Tom Calver and his team at Westcombe Dairy then slowly mature into cheese with incredible complexity and character.
Westcombe Cheddar is their flagship cheese, a hand-crafted, traditional cheddar made in much the same way as it was over 100 years ago. It is honoured with the Artisan Somerset Cheddar designation from Slow Food – one of only four cheeses to have this accolade. The criteria for this is much stricter than that for West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, and includes using raw milk from their own herd, pint starters rather than the more widely used powdered versions, and animal rennet. The cheese must never be made in a block form, and must be cloth-bound before being matured for at least one year.
This smoked version is matured for around fifteen months for a fuller flavour, then smoked over Beech for 48hrs imparting notes of open fires, coffee and caramel. When you taste Westcombe Smoked, in the beginning you will notice campfire-esque smoky notes that may bring about memories of camping adventures. The taste will transition to deep, complex flavours of grass and cellars with a finishing lactic tang.
With naturally occuring blue veins, which is normal and intrinsic to the nature of this type of cheese and add to its character, this cheese is often called a 'five-mile Cheddar,' as you’re still tasting it five miles down the road! An absolute must-try for lovers of smoked cheese, we recommend adding it to gourmet mac and cheese or melted on burgers for a divine tasting experience.