Crumbly, moist texture with a tangy and full-smoked flavour.
Lancashire is one of the few traditional
cheeses made in Britain, with its making stretching back hundreds of years.
When times were hard and meat a rarity, the poor folk of Lancashire made
a filling meal of just cheese. Infact this cheese became the staple food
of the mill-workers who were crammed into the miserable back-to-back houses
with little or no cooking facilities. 'Many's the night I've dreamed of
cheese - toasted mostly,' sighs Ben Gunn in Robert Louis Stevenson's treasure
Island. He probably meant Lancashire, the famous 'Leigh Toaster'.
This particular Lancashire is made by the
Kirkhams on their farm near Preston. A husband and wife partnership, John
looks after the herd of Fresians, while Ruth makes the cheese. They work
seven days a week throughout the year to produce about four cheeses a
day. Lancashire is one of the most labour intensive cheeses to produce,
but not detered, Ruth Kirkham has added even more work by smoking the
cheese. Each cheese is cut into wheels before the smoking process to allow
the smoke to penetrate.
This is an unpasteurised cow's milk cheese
with a fat content of 48%. Each wheel weighs approximately 3.5kg and measures
roughly 20cm in diameter by 10cm high. Smoked cheese makes an interesting
addition to any cheeseboard, and with this Lancashire the smoky flavour
is not too overpowering. As with the unsmoked version, this is excellent