Are you open and is it safe to visit?
Yes and Yes! We made lots of changes to our SHOP in 2020 and 2021 to ensure we provide a safe environment for both our Visitors and Staff. Update February 2022 – We have kept the Perspex screens in our shop for yours and our staff safety. Restrictions have been lifted and it is now your choice whether you wear a face covering. Our shop is open 7 days a week from 10.30am to 5pm (4pm close during the winter months)
Our VISITOR CENTRE is open between 11.30am and 3pm, 7 days a week. No need to pre book these days – just turn up and buy a ticket when you arrive! £2.50 per adult, children under 16s are free. (If you would like to arrange a group booking for 20 or more people, please give us a call to arrange your visit. Tel: 01934742810)
Are you really THE ONLY cheddar cheese makers in Cheddar?
Yes, we are!
When are you open?
We’re open 362 days of the year! (Closed for 3 days at Christmas time). Our Shop and Cheese Tasting Bars are open from 10.30am. During the Summer we stay open until 5pm, closing at 4pm in the winter and quieter months.
Is your cheese suitable for Vegetarians?
Yes, it certainly is. We do not use animal Rennet. Also, we are the only traditional Cheddar producer not to use Lard on the coating of the truckles. So Vegetarians may enjoy our cheese too.
What is cheese rind, and can I eat it?
Our cheese is unique! It is the only cheddar still made in Cheddar using unpasteurised milk from one local farm and hand made using traditional methods. We still bandage our cheese in muslin cloth and, our whole cheese truckles are matured in our stores for, in the case for some Vintage Cheddar, more than 2 years. The fact that our cheeses mature in muslin produces a rind. It is simply drier, harder cheese present on the outside of the truckle which develops as the cheese dries out during maturation. It is stronger in flavour and brownish in colour, unlike most cheddars sold in the UK.
It is precisely this process, the long, slow maturation in cloth, which produces the characteristic ‘traditional cheddar’ taste and consequential rind on the outside.
Some of our long-term customers love the fact that our cheese has a rind, which is rare to find these days. It can be eaten direct, grated into soups or on to toast for a strong traditional cheese taste. Again, some customers prefer not to eat it and so cut it off; it is safe to eat nevertheless.
I’m lactose intolerant; can I eat your cheese?
Good news! The long maturation of our traditional cheddar means that the starter cultures have time to utilise ‘all’ the lactose in the milk and curd. Recent tests of our Vintage Cheddar (2 years + matured) confirmed it contained less than 0.1% lactose. Many of our lactose intolerant customers eat our Vintage Cheddar. (It may be that some people have different levels of sensitivity so do seek some medical advice or avoid eating it if you think you may have a reaction).
Can we park easily in Cheddar?
Cheddar Gorge is quieter during the cooler months (October to March) and very busy in the summer. Although there is free 1-hour limited parking opposite our shop all year round, during the warmer, busy months you will probably need to use (and pay for) parking in Cheddar. We get so many visitors during these times but there are plenty of spaces within the lower sections of the gorge itself. Apart from Cheese, we have Jacob’s Ladder, award-winning traditional Tea Rooms and many independent shops & curiosities, not forgetting breathtaking walks.
Is there access for wheelchair users and pushchairs if we visit you?
Yes. We have a ramp entry into the Visitor Centre if you would like to come and watch us make cheese. From here you can easily access our shop which also has a wheelchair friendly entry/exit too.
I placed an order online, when will I receive it?
We dispatch orders on week days, Monday to Thursday for next day delivery (ensure you place your order before 11am to guarantee same day dispatch). Our Courier, DPD is super swift, reliable and efficient.
We are hoping to recommence delivery to Europe soon (this service has been prevented since January 1st 2021 – there have been additional restrictions post Brexit!) Normally this takes between 3 and 5 days to arrive.
Why is your cheese more expensive than my supermarket cheddar?
There are many reasons. Firstly we make our cheese in small batches, by hand. We buy in fresh milk, from one local farm and are very fussy about its quality (and pay a premium for this privilege). Secondly, we only make 6 to 8 cheese a day from one open vat. These need pressing and dressing in cotton bandage – all done by hand remember, and then we carry them (literally), very carefully, to our cheese maturing store.
That’s just the first stage. There they sit, happily for up to 20 months while we scurry around them every day, ensuring their environment is perfect; clean, temperature and humidity carefully controlled, and in addition, we turn them regularly to refresh their position! While their flavour develops during the long maturation, they lose weight by evaporation (12% for one of our ‘Mature’ and up to 20% for our ‘Vintage’ cheddars).
We’re not high-tech, we have no economies of scale and we use high-quality ingredients. We do this because the resultant small batch, hand-made, quality cheddar cheese is different. Very different. The taste is quite something!
We can’t compete on price but we can compete on taste. If we couldn’t, we’d be out of business!
How should I store my cheese?
Store our cheese, unopened, in its original packaging, in the fridge until you are ready to eat it. When that time comes, remove from the fridge, remove the packaging and allow to temper at room temperature for an hour or so. Then enjoy!
If you don’t eat it all, carefully re-wrap in grease proof paper, good quality film or foil and place back into the fridge, ideally within an airtight container or salad drawer where the temperature is stable and humidity is maintained. It is essential that its tightly wrapped to prevent drying out – if well wrapped, our cheese will last for weeks!
Why has my truckle got mould on the surface? Can I still eat it?
Absolutely yes. All our truckles develop mould on the surface of the cloth. It is a sign that they are maturing well and are packed with flavour (unlike plastic matured cheddar). Your individual truckle is just the same as our larger cloth bound truckles in this respect. Simply peel back the cloth. The cheddar on the inside is tasty, delicious and ready to enjoy. It is perfectly safe to eat.
Your cheese is made with unpasteurised (raw) milk. Is it safe?
Not only is our cheese perfectly safe to eat there is much evidence to show that raw milk cheese is, in fact, healthier and tastier. Not long ago all milk was pasteurised. Pasteurisation kills all bacteria, so prevents the good bacteria from developing in the cheese too. So raw milk cheese often has a more complex and exciting taste.
Raw milk cheese, made from grass fed cows, is a source of healthy omega 3 fatty acids. It is rich in probiotics, providing essential vitamins and minerals, benefiting a general healthy gut! Probiotics may also help prevent and treat type 2 diabetes and obesity, reduce the risk of some cancers, heart disease and high cholesterol
The beneficial bacteria in raw milk cheese can contribute to a strong immune system and may help improve allergies. Raw milk is also considered beneficial to asthma and eczema sufferers. Raw milk cheese is tastier as natural bacteria in raw milk lend a great deal of flavour to the final product. Raw milk cheese contains natural flora, yeasts, and enzymes that contribute to complex and unique cheese flavours.
What Ice Packs do you use to help keep your cheese cool?
We use two types of ice mats; small 1 x 4 cell strips which we pop into our Cool Bags if you purchase one when you visit our shop in Cheddar. These are simply frozen water and non hazardous. They are designed to help keep your cheese cool during the journey home before you can transfer your cheese to the fridge (unless you’re eating straight away of course!). They can be refrozen and used again. Or if unwanted, snip each section and release the water down the drain before recycling the plastic. We recommend reusing them of course – they make great drinks coolers in the summer, burn soothers or ice packs for reducing inflammation.
When we send out our mail order parcels of cheese we include at least one 500g Ice Pack with each order (depending on the time of year and weather etc). These are larger pouches and help chill the cheese in transit. Most importantly they can be reused.
If you don’t want to reuse them, defrost, pierce the pack and pour down the drain, then the plastic pouch can be recycled.
Where should I store my cheese delivery?
We get asked this question a lot. The answer is …it depends!
When the weather is warm in the summer months, it’s best to store your cheese in the fridge (between 2 to 8 degrees C). In the colder months though there is much more flexibility. Cheddar is a hard cheese and much more stable than soft and semi soft cheeses. When the weather’s cold you can store your cheese in a cold room, the garage, a garden shed or the boot of the car even; make sure you protect it from wandering rodents though! We mature some of our cheese at around 13’C for 12 months, and when the weather’s cold in the UK it rarely rises above this. If in doubt, give us a ring for more advice.