December Cheese Club: Iowa

cheese_club_logo-1240x1240pitchfork-cheddar-cheeseNeal’s Yard Dairy
Pitchfork Cheddar
Somerset, England

The Pitchfork Cheddar is a full-bodied, dense and nutty cheddar from Trethowan’s Dairy in Somerset. It has a juicy bite and creamy texture that coats the mouth. The name, Pitchfork, references the old Cheddar-making tools used to toss the curd while mixing in the salt. This practice is something that Neal’s Yard Dairy continues today.

Milk Type: Cow
Milk Source: Produced on-site
Average Age: 12 months
Cheesemakers: Maugan & Todd Trethowan
Serving Suggestion:
Fold grated Pitchfork Cheddar into scrambled eggs towards the end of the cooking process to get deeper, more savory eggs.

The Pitchfork Cheddar pairs well with a light red wine such as a Pinot Noir, or a Silky White Wine, like a Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc. For beer, reach for a Cider or English Ale.

WINESTYLES: Fruity or Silky
BEERSTYLES: Crisp & Clean



© Photo by Neal’s Yard Dairy

Historically, most West Country cheesemakers produced Cheddar before embarking on a cheese more commonly associated with their friends across the Welsh border: Caerphilly. Cheddar takes over a year to mature, while Caerphilly can be turned around in a month of less, so in leaner times, particularly between the first and second world wars, Caerphilly sales provided a steady flow of income while the Cheddar took its time to age. The Trethowans, however, have gone about this the other way around. While based in their home country of Wales, they made their name producing their signature Gorwydd Caerphilly, but when they moved across the border to a dairy farm just up the road from the Somerset market town of Cheddar, they felt compelled to begin producing a clothbound Cheddar alongside it. The milk comes from their herd of Holstein and Jersey cows, which graze on the farm’s organic pastures. The Cheddar is handmade in small batches to a traditional farmhouse recipe. – Neal’s Yard Dairy

lincolnshire-poacher-cheeseNeal’s Yard Dairy
Lincolnshire Poacher
Alford, Lincolnshire, England

West Country Cheddar meets Comté in this cheese. It is smooth and densely creamy in texture with flavors ranging from rich and savory to long, sweet and somewhat pineapple-like. Lincolnshire Poacher is one of the very few cheeses to be produced on the east coast of the country, where the clay soils are usually improper for dairy farming.

Milk Type: Cow
Milk Source: Own herd
Average Age: 18-24 Months
Cheesemakers: Simon Jones and Richard Tagg
Serving Suggestion:
Melt on top of buttered crumpets or toast.

Similarly, the Lincolnshire Poacher pairs well with light red Pinot Noirs, Gamays or a Sangioveses. If you prefer white wine, reach for a Silky White, like a Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc. Ciders or English Ales will pair best with this cheese.

WINESTYLES: Fruity or Silky
BEERSTYLES: Crisp & Clean



© Photo from Neal’s Yard Dairy

Although the loamy or clay soils of Lincolnshire are usually ill-suited to dairy farming, the lush pastures of Simon Jones’s Ulceby Grange farm sit on chalky land – and it is this, combined with the mild climate, that has made Lincolnshire Poacher one of very few cheeses to be produced on the east coast of the country. Though the farm has been in the family since 1917, the Jones family didn’t start making cheese until the 1990s, when a young Simon returned from agricultural college. Eager to turn his hand toward cheesemaking, he enlisted the help of renowned Welsh cheesemaker Dougal Campbell to develop a recipe, and the result – which incorporates the hallmarks of a hard mountain cheese into a traditional West Country Cheddar – proved so popular that customers at the local cheese shop initially had to be rationed to quarter of a pound each. Simon’s brother Tim has since joined him on the farm, and in 1995 Simon employed a full-time cheesemaker, Richard Tagg. Today, it is Jon Collins whose job it is to transform milk from their 230-strong herd of Holstein Friesians into cheese on an almost daily basis. Once the curds have been moulded, salted and pressed for 36 hours, the resulting cheese truckles are matured on wooden boards and turned regularly to ensure even maturation. The brothers recently invested in a robot for turning the truckles, improving consistency still further. Though some Lincolnshire Poacher will be aged for up to 36 months, we believe the finest tasting truckles are between a year and 24 months old. – Neal’s Yard Dairy

Founded in 1979 by Randolph Hodgson, Neal’s Yard Dairy started as a small shop tucked away in corner of London’s Covent Garden, selling and making Greek-style yogurt, crème fraîche and a couple other cheeses. It later became a popular shop for local farmhouse cheesemakers to sell their own product. Today, Neals’ Yard Dairy sells the very best British and Irish cheeses. They work with about 40 cheesemakers, all with different cheesemaking styles and techniques. Learn more about their story here.

Cheese_springDon’t let your Wine Club go home alone!

Join our Cheese Club and bring home a match made in heaven!

If you enjoy pairing cheese with wine, this is your club!  Each month you’ll discover specialty and artisan cheeses to pair with your Wine Club. Monthly cheese selections are chosen by your local WineStyles participating location. It’s the perfect opportunity to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® amazing artisan cheese every month! Only $19.99/month and your wine won’t be lonely!  Click to learn more >

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