Sharp, saline and herbaceous
Reminiscent of Italian and Spanish hard cheeses, Holbrook goats cheese takes influence from the continent but is very much rooted to the North of England, having originally developed out of an aged-Lancashire recipe.
Matured for a minimum of 6 months for the flavour to develop, Martin and Nicola use milk fresh from their goats everyday on their wild-Cumbrian landscape to make this sharp, herbaceous, saline goats cheese.
Made by Nicola Robinson and Martin Gott at Holker Farm, in Cartmel, Cumbria, England.
More about this
Martin and Nicola are famed for their sheep’s milk cheeses, particularly St James. Setting up 2006 they farm a small edge of southern Lake District on the Holker Estate. For many years they were confined by the size of their small holding (just 20 acres – about four fields); coupled with their want to farm sustainably; with the resources natural to Cumbria and farming seasonally, with the sheep out at pasture eating diverse grasses and milking once a day. This meant only limited amounts of sheep’s cheeses were made.
2020 saw a number of changes for Martin and Nicola, firstly they managed to secure an extra 20 acres of land from the Holker estate nearby, meaning they could start to make more cheese. At the same time Coronavirus hit, and badly affected the artisan and farmhouse cheese market. In Staffordshire the Innes family were particularly badly affected and they decided to retire from cheese-making and sell their goats. Martin and Nicola seized upon this opportunity to quickly get hold of more dairy animals (particularly as the Innes family had bred their goats specifically for 20 years to produce good quality safe raw milk for cheesemaking that prized richness of flavour over volume). Overnight Martin and Nicola took on 180 milking goats [Nicola always wanted goats and had been badgering Martin for a long time anyhow so it seemed to work!].
Running them through their milking parlour first (before the sheep), they had to develop a cheese fast as they had lots of milk the very next day, hence Holbrook was born; as it is made similar to their already established cheese, Crook Wheel, a sheep’s milk version. Martin and Nicola decided to name the cheese Holbrook after the esteemed goat cheesemaker Mary Holbrook, who was a tour de force in the British cheese industry, establishing a reputation as one of the best cheese-makers Britain has ever seen; she passed away in 2019 so it seemed a fitting tribute. Martin and Nicola originally started their career with Mary many years ago when they worked a season for her; Martin cheesemaking, and Nicola farming the goats.
Holbrook is made using natural cheese-making cultures that Martin makes using fresh goats milk (similar to making sourdough cultures for bread); and follows a Lancashire recipe to start (Martin learnt a lot of cheese-making from his 2-year apprenticeship with Graham Kirkham, of Lancashire cheese fame) before stacking and pressing the curd to make the cheese ready for maturing for 6-months. The goats are kept out on the rich pastures that Martin and Nicola have been improving to make better quality grasses and thereby increase the depth of flavour in there cheeses. The goats are milked just once a day with the warm milk going straight into the cheese vat to make cheese that very morning, every single day.
This product will have two weeks shelf life from the date of delivery. Conveniently, at checkout you can choose a delivery date well in the future if you would like your cheese delivering for a specific event.