The Quicke family have been farming at Newton St. Cyres (near Exeter) in Devon, England, for over 450 years. Their commercial cheese production goes back 40 years to when Sir John Quicke and his wife, Mary, built the dairy. Their daughter, Mary Quicke, has continued the cheese production and runs it today, producing mild through vintage Cheddars. The farm is 1,500 acres and has 500 cows, consisting of Kiwi Friesian, Swedish Red, Montbeliarde and Jersey mix, supplying the milk. All of the cheese is made at the farm.
The cheese making process for this cheddar is very similar to that of Barber's 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar as it, too, is a PDO West Country Farmhouse Cheddar. Milk is placed in large vats where starter culture (bacteria) is added. This increases the acidity and starts development of the unique cheese taste. Natural rennet is added and separates the milk into curds, that become the cheese, and whey, which is poured into the pastures to enrich them. The curds settle and then are cut into large strips by hand, and turned, to allow the last of the whey to drain away, known as the "cheddaring" process. The cheese is milled to provide texture, salt is added, and then presumably machine-punched into muslin-lined molds. The cheeses are then placed onto wooden racks and allowed to age.
Quicke's Elderflower Cheddar is aged for three to four months and has pieces of elderflower running through it.
|Quicke's Elderflower Cheddar|
The elderflower addition apparently adds an aromatic flavor. Elderflower is being added to all sorts of products to add a "floral and fragrant, subtle yet heady, not sweet in themselves but heaven" when infused in other flavors. I thought it was one of the most distinctive tasting cheeses I've ever tried. Judy called it "piney." For me it conveyed a grilled taste, like barbecued chicken, a taste that really came on subtly at the back-end. That taste just screamed to be added to a chicken sandwich using Costco barbecue chicken, the perfect addition. The elderflower cheddar was the winner of a Silver award at the British Cheese Awards in 2014. I got this cheese from Anshu Pathak, who sells cheese in addition to exotic meats.
|Elderflowers. Picture from here.|