Real Lancashire Cheese is a delicious product with a long and proud history. It is handmade by seven skilled local cheese makers.
All are situated in and around the Forest of Bowland in the heart of rural Lancashire, England.
Renowned throughout the world for its distinctive rich and creamy flavours and white crumbly texture.
Many amazing recipes have been created just to incorporate the cheese as an ingredient.
For me, as a proud Lancastrian, it is my number one choice with salted butter and crackers or grilled on a freshly baked local slice of crusty bread. Or as a grilled topping on traditional Lancashire Hot Pot.
Cheese Making History
At one time, everyone in Lancashire ate Lancashire Cheese. And almost all farms in the county made it in one form or another.
Evidence suggests that cheese was being made in Lancashire from the 13th Century.
However, the style, texture and taste will likely differ from what we recognise today.
Each farmer’s wife would use the surplus milk from their farm. To produce cheese that would sustain their family and supplement their household income.
Historical records show cheese made in Lancashire was transported by boat to London from Liverpool in the 1600s.
Then in approximately 1890, a Lancashire County Council employee named Joseph Gornall began visiting all the farms in Lancashire. Observing the cheese-making activity and giving practical advice on production and method.
He aimed to standardise Cheese production across the county and create a formal recipe and method still used today.
Back in the 1890’s Lancashire farms tended to be small holdings.
And farmers often did not have enough surplus milk to make a whole cheese.
So without refrigeration, the best way of keeping surplus milk was to turn it into curd. Then store it overnight at room temperature.
The milk maids would mix the curd with the curd from the following day and, in some cases, blended again with the day after. Lancashire History
This traditional method
is unique to cheeses made in lancashire and is still adhered to by Lancashire cheese makers today.
It is also the reason why Traditional Lancs Cheese, which is known as Creamy and Tasty Lancashire. Has such a rich buttery flavour and, when melted, gives a smooth and even consistency.
Creamy Lancashire is matured for between 4 and 12 weeks.
Cheese matured for longer is classified as Tasty Lancashire.
Cheese aged for less than 24 months as Tasty Lancashire.
- Crumbly Lancashire is a more recent creation and is the style of Lancashire Cheese known outside of the region.
- Crumbly Lancashire was created around 40 years ago. When Cheese Factors in Lancashire demanded a younger, less expensive cheese. That could compete with competitors such as Cheshire, Caerphilly and Wensleydale.
- Crumbly or “New” Lancashire is made with only one day’s milking and in a similar method to Cheshire cheese.
Because it is easier and cheaper to produce, manufacturers outside Lancashire. Produce it in mass and market it as the only Lancashire Cheese.
Unveiling the Rich Origins of Cheese Making in Lancashire
Delve into the captivating history of cheese making in Lancashire, England. As we explore the origins and traditions that have shaped this region’s esteemed dairy industry.
Lancashire’s cheese-making heritage is deeply rooted in the county’s pastoral landscapes and rich agricultural traditions. In this article, we journeyed through time to uncover the fascinating beginnings of cheese-making and its enduring legacy.
Agricultural Roots and Dairy Heritage
The story of cheese-making in Lancashire goes back to ancient times when agriculture flourished in the region. Lancashire’s lush green pastures and fertile soil provided an ideal environment for dairy farming. With cows grazing on the nutrient-rich grasses.
The abundance of milk in this agricultural landscape laid the foundation for Lancashire’s cheese-making prowess.
Early Techniques and Artisanal Craftsmanship
In the early days, cheese making in Lancashire was a labour of love. Undertaken by skilled artisans who meticulously crafted each wheel by hand. Traditional techniques passed down through generations, preserved Lancashire’s distinctive cheese-making methods.
Artisanal craftsmanship and a deep understanding of the local terroir and milk quality resulted in cheeses unique to Lancashire. They are highly prized by chefs, cooks and cheese lovers worldwide.
Varieties and Flavors of Lancashire Cheese
Lancashire’s cheese-making heritage gave rise to very distinctive cheese styles, each with its flavour profile and characteristics. Historically, the two main types of Lancashire cheese were “Creamy Lancashire” and “Tasty Lancashire.” Creamy Lancashire, also known as “Lancashire butter cheese”. Is a young and mild cheese with a smooth, creamy texture and a subtle tang.
Tasty Lancashire, on the other hand, is a more mature cheese that develops a stronger, tangier flavour as it ages.
Changing Techniques and Modernisation
As the cheese-making industry evolved, Lancashire cheese production underwent certain changes to meet the demands of a growing market. Modern techniques, such as starter cultures and controlled ageing processes, were introduced to enhance consistency and improve flavour development.
However, Lancashire cheese makers have remained committed to preserving the essence of traditional methods while adapting to modern hygiene and quality standards.
Recognition and Protected Status of Lancashire Cheese
Lancashire gained recognition for its exceptional cheese quality and unique character, earning Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in 1996.
This official recognition emphasises the importance of traditional methods, local ingredients. And the specific geographical area in producing authentic Lanc’s cheese.
The PDO status ensures that Lancashire cheese continues to be made under the established heritage. Which safeguards its distinctive flavours and traditions, continued Legacy and Appreciation
Today, Lancashire’s cheeses remain a beloved culinary icon, celebrated for their versatility and rich flavours.
The cheese-making legacy of Lancashire is sustained by a dedicated community of artisanal producers. Who uphold the traditions while incorporating modern innovations.
Traditional cheese from Lancashire has found its way onto cheeseboards, into recipes, and onto the plates of cheese enthusiasts worldwide. Captivating palates with its unique characteristics.
Cheese-making’s origins in Lancashire comes from a rich history of agricultural heritage, artisanal craftsmanship, and a deep connection to the land.