Saturday, 26 March 2016

Quicke's Tour - How the Famous Devon Cheese is Made

Earlier this month I went to a 'Meet the Makers' day at Quicke's Dairy.  First of all we were able to sample some great local things:Cornish Sea Salt, Lynher Cornish Cheese and Sharpham stuck out in my mind.  They were all delicious.


I was told that the Farm Kitchen was much loved by locals as a cafe and it has been announced that it is shutting down.  It will still be available as a private-hire venue, but will no longer be open to the public on a daily basis.


 The cows lived on adjoining fields to the dairy site - it was great to see that the 'food miles' were very low indeed.

It was all very 'Playschool through the arched window', when we went on a tour around the dairy.  I had visions of the cheese being made in barrels and was a bit surprised by the huge metal vats of the stuff.  It was good to see that manual labour still had its place.   It was very much a mixture of human labour with big metal machines to do the repetitive and very heavy work.  It looked like back breaking work as the employees turned and shaped the cheese.

We saw the whole process: from the cheese arriving as milk, the introduction of the culture, the separation of the curds and whey, the shaping of the cheese, and finally its maturing process.  This guy was blowing off excessive cheese mites from the cheese.  Every cheese has some (that is to be expected), but nobody wants too many of them or the cheese will go mouldy.

 They stored the truckles in a huge warehouse for 2 years to mature within its muslin cloth - each cheese was worth about £400 so I worked out there was probably half a million pounds worth of cheese in there!

We were also told that leaving the cheese for a very long time creates a really delicious cheese but that it just simply isn't financially viable to do that on a large scale.  Apparently Mary Quicke comes around and tastes all the cheeses on a daily basis.  I'm sure I would quite like to be a Chief Cheese Taster!

Thanks to MONKHOUSE Food & Drink for arranging this special, informative and great day.

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