What’s the product?
Westcombe Cheddar, a firm, smooth cheese with a deep tangy flavour, and long notes of citrus, hazelnut and caramel. Westcombe Dairy describe this as a 'five mile Cheddar', as the rich flavour lingers on the palate – you’re still tasting it five miles down the road!
Who’s behind it?
Tom Calver, a trained chef, took over the business in 2008 from his father Richard.
What’s the story?
Records show that unpasteurised cheese was being made at Westcombe Farm as early as 1890, by a reputably formidable lady named Edith Cannon, whose cheddar was apparently legendary. Cheddar has been made continuously at the farm ever since, and although it’s always been consistently high quality, over the past few decades Richard and Tom have devoted themselves to a return to the traditional cheesemaking of Edith’s day, and focused on making a classic Somerset cheddar with unpasteurised milk based on her original, prize-winning recipe. Returning to the farm after working in prestigious London restaurants and the famous Neal’s Yard Dairy, chef Tom set about mastering each step of the cheesemaking process in order to perfect every detail, moving away from mechanisation and focusing on making the most of the local Westcombe terroir.
Somerset is famous for cheddar precisely because of its terroir, the combination of lush pastures, plentiful spring water, rolling hills and cool mists encouraging the cows to produce wonderfully rich milk and allowing the slow maturation of cheeses (11-18 months, in the case of Westcombe Cheddar) so that they can develop complexity and character. Only three cheeses have been honoured with the official Artisan Somerset Cheddar designation from Slow Food – and Westcombe Dairy Cheddar is one of them.
Why we love it…
We couldn’t call ourselves local food experts and not celebrate one of Somerset’s most famous foodie creations, the mighty cheddar. The rich, tangy flavour of Westcombe Dairy’s outstanding, multi-award-winning cheddar, developed over months of slow maturation, is the taste of the West Country.