Old Winchester is one of six cheeses handmade by Lyburn Farm, on on the northern edge of England's New Forest. Aged for 18-24 months, Old Winchester has a distinct nuttiness and a creaminess that can be surprising for a cheese of its age. The cheese is similar to the farm's Winchester—which is somewhere between a cheddar and a gouda—but becomes drier and harder with age. Among many other awards, Old Winchester won Gold at the 2016 British Cheese Awards.
Lyburn Farm has a herd of 170 pedigree Holstein-Frisians, and they have been milking cows twice a day, every day on the farm since 1969. Mike and Judy Smales began making cheese nearly 20 years ago to get better value for their milk and to introduce a new, non-cheddar, northern European inspired hard cheese to south-central England.
Old Winchester has a rich creaminess with notes of nuts and caramelization. Its sweetness is offset by a slight tang.
Old Winchester is a versatile cheese, great on a cheese board but also perfect to cook with. Use it as you might use Parmigiano Reggiano. As it is both pasteurized and vegetarian-friendly, it makes a good stand-in for hard Italian table cheeses.