Savoury, gentle blue with a balanced finish.
- Cows' Milk
Famous for their vintage Red Leicester, the Clarke family diversified further into blue-cheese production when their son Will returned to the farm. Using milk from their 150 cows he decided to develop a classic British ‘rinded’ blue akin to the famous blue cheeses made in the region.
The end result is Sparkenhoe Blue – a cheese of its own: mellow blue, with dense-fudgy texture, and a savoury finish.
Made by Will Clarke and family in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, England.
More about this
David and Jo’s families have farmed this area in Leicestershire for generations.
In 2005, they diversified their farm and Jo and David Clarke revived farmhouse Red Leicester. For 50 years before that there had been no farmhouse red Leicester made at all. David had been bemoaning the lack of good quality red Leicester, so his friends challenged him to use his own milk to make one!
After a short cheese-making course he and Jo began experimenting. Using their farm’s own unpasteurised milk, they followed traditional recipes. They decided to name the resulting delicious red cheese after their farm, Sparkenhoe, which has been its administrative name since the 1300s.
In 2017, only 30% of their milk was used to make Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, the rest being sold at low price as liquid milk to a Stilton factory. To improve the return, they decided to start producing another cheese to go alongside Sparkenhoe. They opted to build a brand new dairy on the farm, purpose-built for making blue cheese to go alongside the red Leicester. At that time, David and Jo’s son, Will, finished studying at university, so he came back to the farm and was tasked with developing and making the cheese based on a traditional regional recipe.
Looking at classic British cheeses, they decided to follow an age-old farm recipe for British blue cheese from nearby Melton Mowbray. This involved using the milk from their own herd of cows to express their unique flavour, the cheese is then made gentler than the more efficient factory varieties of this cheese: hand-ladled to maintain a better consistency in the curd and matured for over 14 weeks. In the classic British blue cheese way it is rubbed up to avoid over blueing and then pierced late (at about six weeks old) to allow the blue mould to form towards the end of its maturation.
Originally they were going to pasteurise their milk for their blue cheese, and bought a pasteuriser to do it, but they didn’t have enough electric on the farm to run a milk pasteuriser!
As they use fresh raw milk from their own herd of cows for their other cheeses they decided to have a go at making blue cheese with it whilst they worked out a way to power the pasteuriser.
They results were delicious.
So they decided not to produce Stilton but make a different blue cheese.
Consequently the pasteuriser is still sitting unused in the corner of the dairy and they chose to continue down that route: Sparkenhoe Blue was born.
This product will have two weeks’ shelf life from the date of delivery. Conveniently, at checkout you can choose a delivery date even well in the future if you would like your cheese delivering for a specific event.
Ingredients: Milk, salt, cheese cultures and rennet.