Where to experience the best of British cheese-making in Somerset?

If you're eager to explore the rich and luscious world of British cheese-making, take a trip to Somerset. This idyllic rural shire in Southwest England boasts a gastronomic heritage that is steeped in tradition and quality. Somerset is renowned for its dairy farming and is especially celebrated for its exceptional cheddar. A visit to this region will afford you the opportunity to delve deeper into the cheese-making process and appreciate the exquisite delicacy that is Somerset cheddar.

Discovering the Best Somerset Cheddar

Right at the heart of Somerset lies the Cheddar Gorge, a place known not only for its breathtaking landscapes but also for its world-class cheddar. This is where you'll find some of the best traditional cheese-making companies, and where you can embark on a cheese journey that’s as enlightening as it is delicious.

Traditional cheddar is a product of laborious artistry. The finest Somerset cheddar should epitomise a combination of creaminess, piquancy, and complexity. As you wander through the aging caves, you'll have a chance to see this first-hand. The method of making this cheddar is a time-honoured tradition passed down through generations, ensuring the taste remains distinctive and memorable.

The Cheese Dairy Farms of Somerset

One of the key elements to Somerset's cheese supremacy lies in the region's dairy farming practices. Somerset is home to many family-run dairy farms whose commitment to quality and tradition ensures the making of some of Britain’s finest cheeses.

A farm tour will give you a close look at the cheese-making process, from milking to maturation. You’ll witness the passion and dedication that go into each wheel of cheese. From the lush green pastures where the cows graze, to the carefully controlled environments of the maturation rooms, every step contributes to the distinctive characteristics of Somerset cheese.

Visiting these farms is not only an educational experience, but also a chance to support local family businesses. Many of these farms offer delicious homemade produce and you can often buy direct from the farm shop, ensuring your fridge is well-stocked with the best British cheeses.

Traditional Cheese-Making Companies in Somerset

If you're interested in the cheese-making process and the history behind it, a visit to one of Somerset's traditional cheese-making companies is a must. These companies, many of which have been around for decades, are custodians of the time-honoured methods that give British cheese its unique qualities.

At the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, for instance, you'll see how traditional cheddar is made by hand, using milk sourced only from local farms. The company offers a fascinating tour that walks you through each step of the cheese-making process.

A Day in Bath: Cheese Lover's Paradise

No trip to Somerset would be complete without a visit to Bath, a city known for its Roman-built baths, picturesque architecture, and, of course, its delectable cheeses. Bath is home to several artisan cheese shops, each offering a variety of locally produced cheeses.

Perhaps most famous is the Bath Soft Cheese Company, renowned for its organic, creamy cheeses. A visit to this farm will provide you with an opportunity to see artisan cheese-making practices and taste some of the most delicious cheeses you’ll ever encounter.

The Importance of British Cheese Traditions

As you explore Somerset, you'll come to appreciate why British cheese is so revered. It's not just about the taste, but also the story behind each wheel of cheese. From the milk that is sourced from local herds, to the traditional methods of cheese-making and maturation, each step in the process is imbued with a commitment to quality and tradition.

In Somerset, you'll find that cheese-making is much more than a business. It's a way of life, a passion that is passed down through generations. It’s a culinary tradition that defines the region and makes it a place worth visiting for any food lover.

In the end, the essence of Somerset's cheese-making heritage lies in its people – the farmers, the cheese-makers, the sellers. When you visit Somerset, you’re not just tasting cheese. You're experiencing the dedication, craftsmanship and love that go into making it. This in itself is a remarkable journey, and one you won't forget in a hurry.

Award-Winning Cheeses of Somerset

Somerset is not just famous for its cheddar, but it's also home to an array of award-winning cheeses. The region is especially renowned for producing some of the finest hard cheeses, blue cheeses, and goat's cheeses in the UK.

One of the award-winning cheeses that you must try is the Gorwydd Caerphilly, which originates from the North Cadbury Court. This cheese is traditionally made with raw cow's milk and matured for two months, giving it a unique, tangy flavour and a firm, yet creamy texture.

When in Somerset, you must also try the Pitchfork Cheddar, a handmade traditional cheddar cheese that has won numerous awards for its exceptional taste and quality. Made at the Trethowan's Dairy in Weston Super Mare, this cheese is matured for a minimum of 12 months, developing a deep, complex flavour that is both sweet and savoury.

Visiting these cheese makers provides an opportunity to learn about the work and dedication that goes into making these award-winning cheeses. It also offers a chance to taste these cheeses at their source, allowing you to appreciate the full depth and complexity of their flavours.

The Role of Somerset in the British Cheese Industry

Somerset plays a critical role in the British cheese industry. With its lush grazing lands and a tradition of dairy farming, Somerset is at the heart of British cheese making. The region is home to a number of cheesemakers, each producing a range of cheeses that showcase the quality of Somerset's dairy produce.

In Somerset, you'll also find a thriving food and drink scene that celebrates local, artisanal products. Many restaurants and shops in the area proudly feature Somerset cheeses on their menus and in their retail offerings. From the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company in Cheddar to the Holiday Park in North Cadbury, Somerset is a haven for cheese lovers.

In essence, Somerset is a microcosm of the wider British cheese industry. It epitomises the commitment to quality, tradition, and innovation that characterises British cheese making.

Conclusion: Somerset, An Unforgettable Cheese Journey

All in all, Somerset offers an unforgettable journey into the world of British cheese. From the iconic Cheddar Gorge to the award-winning Pitchfork Cheddar and Gorwydd Caerphilly, the region is a treasure trove of cheese-making traditions and culinary delights.

The cheese journeys in Somerset are not just about indulging in delicious cheeses but also about understanding the stories and traditions behind these cheeses. Whether it's a visit to a local dairy farm, an artisan cheese shop in Bath, or a traditional cheese company like the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, every experience in Somerset deepens your appreciation for the craft of cheese making.

So, if you're a foodie, a cheese lover, or simply someone who appreciates quality and tradition, make your way to Somerset. Enjoy the rich, creamy cheddar, the tangy Gorwydd Caerphilly, and the myriad of other cheeses that the region has to offer. As you explore this West Country shire, you'll be immersed in a world of flavour and heritage that is as enchanting as the beautiful Somerset landscapes.

Remember, your visit to Somerset is more than a holiday—it's a journey into the heart of British gastronomy. It's about experiencing the passion and dedication of the people who make the cheeses, and understanding why Somerset is truly a beacon of the British cheese industry.