Rich, savoury and meaty.

  • Unpasteurised
  • Sheep's Milk

A rich sheep’s milk cheese from animals farmed on marshes in southern Cumbria. Classically northern in style, the cheese has a lactic, fresh core, with savoury, sweet and animal-like flavours from the full richness of the sheep’s milk.
A very interesting cheese.

Made by Nicola Robinson and Martin Gott in Cartmel, Cumbria, England.

More about this

Named after one of the fields on the edge of the estate, Crookwheel is made by Martin Gott and Nicola Robinson using milk from their 100 Lacaune sheep.  Martin Gott helped famous cheese-maker James Aldridge (pioneer of ‘washed rind’ cheeses in Britain) on the family farm when he was just 16 and then left to carry out apprenticeships at Kirkham’s Lancashire and, later, Sleight Farm (with Mary Holbrook).

In 2006, Martin and his partner, Nicola Robinson, returned to Cumbria to set-up by themselves on the Holker Estate.  After some traumatic times (including having to cull their whole herd), their vision came to fruition.

Martin and Nicola use a non-intensive method of farming: the sheep graze the rich fields of the Holker Estate and are milked only once a day, making for a less-stressed animal and better quality milk.

The 18 months Martin spent with Graham Kirkham has helped form the basis of Crookwheel: although the recipe is not a creamy Lancashire two-day curd recipe, the methodology is the same as that used for the fresher cheeses of the north of England (e.g. Lancashire and Wensleydale) hence the cheese’s fresh, crumbly texture which is enhanced by the richness of sheep’s milk.  Martin and Nicola started by making a very small amount of Crookwheel last summer (barely 60 wheels) because in the summer the sheep are all at their height of milking after the lambing and thus they have a glut of sheep’s milk. Traditionally, however, they put all the milk into making St James, but too much St James for the market meant it was sometimes sold when a bit older and ‘funkier’.  By making a hard cheese like Crookwheel when they have too much sheep’s milk, they can control the St James profile.  To make Crookwheel, they simply make it initially the same as St James but then press it and don’t wash the rind, maturing it in a different store!  This results in a much more stable cheese, which can then be sold all year round as a different product from St James.  The batches currently stocked by The Courtyard Dairy are from July 2015.

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.

Customer reviews

  1. helenca

    Very interesting – as the description says. The aroma is of clean farmyards – reminds me of going into a stable as a child smelling fresh straw and the breath of the horses. At first the smell and taste may be a little off-putting if you are not expecting them, but let them develop and you’ll experience a really unusual cheese.

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