Produced at Greenacres Farm, near Lewes in southern England, Flower Marie is a small, mold ripened cheese made from sheep's milk by Kevin and Alison Blunt.
Both Kevin and Alison have science backgrounds, and, having decided on a change of career, were able to buy a basic, small holding in East Sussex, where they started out with just a few goats and egg laying hens. Initially they sold goat's milk until 1979, when local goat cheese maker Regis Du Sartre decided to retire and Kevin and Alison were able to buy some of his recipes, as well as his herd of goats.
They now own 240 milking goats, including British Saanen, Toggenburg and Alpine, and make a small, high quality selection of goat cheeses.
The development and recipe for Flower Marie came from a collaboration with well known cheesemaker James Aldridge. The name 'Flower Marie' comes from the anglisized version of the Corsican sheep cheese 'Fleur de Maquis'.
The Blunts buy unpasteurized sheep's milk from a herd of Friesland-Dorset sheep located at a farm in Essex where the sheep are fed on grass, hay and maize silage.
Coagulation of the curd for Flower Marie is a slow, lactic set taking about 18 hours. The curd is ladled by hand to conserve as much moisture as possible before being put into the distinctive cube shaped molds to drain. After unmolding, cheeses are brined before being transferred to maturing rooms for about three weeks, prior to release. Some cheeses are aged further so they might be up to weeks of age at the time of consumption.
The rind of Flower Marie is bloomy white, tinged with pink. The interior paste of the cheese is ivory-white in color, with a meltingly soft texture, reminiscent of ice cream when ripe.
Flavors are aromatic, sweet and slightly mushroomy with a subtle, citrus-like tang.