Sharp, saline and herbaceous
Reminiscent of Italian and Spanish hard cheeses, Holbrook goats’ cheese takes influence from the continent but is very much rooted in the north of England, having originally been developed out of an aged-Lancashire recipe.
Matured for a minimum of six months to allow the flavour to develop, every day Martin and Nicola use milk fresh from their goats on their wild Cumbrian land 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 originally in 2006, their farm is a small part of southern Lake District on the Holker Estate. For many years they were confined by the size of their smallholding (just 20 acres – about four fields), coupled with their desire to farm sustainably, with the resources natural to Cumbria,and seasonally, with the sheep out at pasture eating diverse grasses , milked 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 the artisan and farmhouse cheese market suffered greatly. 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 specially bred their goats over 20 years to produce good quality, safe, raw milk – that prized richness of flavour over volume – for their cheese-making). Overnight Martin and Nicola took on 180 milking goats (Nicola always wanted goats and had been badgering Martin for a long time anyway, so it seemed to work!).
The goats passed through their milking parlour before the sheep, and they had they had lots of milk the very next day – so they had to develop a cheese quickly. Hence they made this cheese similarly to their already established cheese, Crook Wheel, a sheep’s milk version, and the goats’ cheese Holbrook was born. Martin and Nicola decided to name the cheese Holbrook after the esteemed goat cheese-maker 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 sadly passed away in 2019, so it seemed a fitting tribute. Martin and Nicola originally started their cheese-making careers with Mary, many years ago when they worked a season for her; Martin making cheese, and Nicola farming the goats.
Holbrook uses natural cheese-making cultures that Martin makes using fresh goats’ milk (similar to making sourdough cultures for bread), and follows a Lancashire recipe at first (Martin learnt a lot of cheese-making from his two-year apprenticeship with Graham Kirkham, of Lancashire cheese fame) before stacking and pressing the curd to make the cheese ready for maturing for six months. The goats graze on the rich pastures that Martin and Nicola have been improving to make better quality grasses and thereby increase the depth of flavour in their 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.