Kirkham's Lancashire - October Cheese of the Month

 
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Kirkham’s Lancashire is the last traditional raw-milk Lancashire cheese. To be called Lancashire, this classic British territorial cheese has to be made in Lancashire, with Beacon Fell in view from the cheese room.

Kirkham's has a succulent, crumbly texture and a tangy lactic taste.  This cheese carries a lot of moisture and matures quickly, so it is usually sold at about 3-6 months, however we are selling cheeses that have been matured by Neal's Yard Dairy in London for up to a year.  These more mature cheeses are denser and more full-bodied in their flavour with a rich mineral taste. 

When melted Kirkham’s Lancashire develops a soft silky, custard-like texture with a remarkable aroma.

  • Unpasteurised Cows' Milk
  • Animal Rennet

What’s special about Kirkham's Lancashire

Photo: Kirkhams Lancashire

Photo: Kirkhams Lancashire

The Kirkham family has been farming and making cheese in Lancashire for three generations. Today Graham Kirkham, the son of the original Mrs Kirkham, manages the family herd of Holstein Freisian cattle; makes the cheese; and runs the business, with his wife and two sons.

What sets Kirkham's apart is the quality of the milk. The cows graze on pasture close to the Irish Sea and their milk is said have qualities of the salt driven by the wind into the grass. The welfare and comfort of the herd is crucial. Through winter, they are kept inside in roomy cubicles with slatted floors, so the ground is always clean. In summer they are outside during the day and back inside at night, so their diet can be closely monitored. 

The cheese-making process is long and slow.  Lancashire is made traditionally in layers using "two day curd" - curd from yesterday's production combined with today's. The first step is an overnight pre-ripening of the milk, designed to activate the native cheese-making bacteria. Graham uses only a tiny amount of starter culture and works the curds carefully to drain them at their own gentle pace over the course of many hours.  The formed cheese is wrapped in cloth which is kept moist with a brine rub.  After wrapping the cheese is rubbed in butter and left to mature.  

Pairing

White Wine: Most dry white wines work well with Kirkham’s Lancashire. Try Muscadet, Loire Sauvignon (Sancerre), Chenin Blanc Dry (Vouvray), or a New World Sauvignon Blanc.  We particularly recommend Chablis which brings out the bright citrusy flavour of Kirkham's Lancashire. 

Red wines: Soft red wines - California Pinot Noir, Rhône Syrah, California Cabernet Sauvignon

Sherry: The dark fruit flavours of an Oloroso Sherry work particularly well with the long nutty finish of a more mature piece of Kirkham’s Lancashire.

Cider: Try a bright dry cider like Aspall Premier Cru.

Watch a short film about Kirkham's Lancashire: