Cheddar (Quicke's Smoked)
Home Farm, belonging to the Quicke family, is located near Newton St Cyres in Devon, England. The 1,500 acre property has been continuously farmed by the family for over 400 years.
Milk for production comes from their 500 cows. The mostly Frieisan herd are rotationally grazed for ten months of the year across 290 acres of rich, alluvial pasture, which results in very high quality milk that yields a more flavorful cheddar
At the heart of the farm is the 5,000 sq. ft. creamery where cheese production takes place by one of nine skilled cheesemakers. Milk for cheesemaking arrives every morning and is pumped into one of the very large stainless steel vats, heated, and a starter culture and rennet added. Traditional rennet is used for production six days each week, and vegetable rennet is used on the remaining day. After coagulation, the curd is cut, drained of whey and then traditionally "cheddared," meaning that the blocks of curd are stacked and turned to extrude more whey, prior to being salted and milled. Finally the curds are put into cloth-lined molds and pressed before being larded, bound in cheesecloth, and transferred to the maturing rooms for aging.
Only cheddars matured for 12-15 months, and, fitting a certain flavor profile, are selected for Quicke's Smoked Cheddar. The large wheels are cut down into 3lb pieces to ensure the smoke sufficiently penetrates the cheese. The pieces are then smoked over oak wood chips sourced from trees on the farm.
The smoking process adds a spectrum of new flavors to the cheddar, and gives it a pale golden-brown hue.
The texture of Quicke's Smoked is smooth, dense and slightly crystalline. Flavors are complex, smoky (obviously) and spicy with notes of caramel.
This cheese pairs ideally with a creamy English stout or pale ale. With wine, try a lighter red such as Pinot Noir, Gamay Burgundy, or Beaujolais.