Mellow and succulent with a sharp, fresh finish.
Tom and Clare Noblet started to make cheese in 2015 on their dairy farm on the edge of the Lake District. Based on a traditional old ‘dales’ recipe of the north of England, Fellstone is aged for three months by which time it has the fresh lemony-lactic flavours of a good Wensleydale, with a supple, firmer texture.
This is farmhouse Wensleydale how it used to be, and it’s still being developed – Fellstone, ‘Whin Yeat’s Wensleydale’, is one to watch.
Made by Tom and Clare Noblet at Whin Yeats Farm, Hutton Roof, near Carnforth, Cumbria, England.
More about this
In 2010 Tom and Clare Noblet moved to Hutton Roof near Kirkby Lonsdale. They had found a 250-acre family farm that they could gradually take over (the current owners, Max and Jenny Burrow were looking to retire), but it would be a few years before Fellstone cheese (also called ‘Whin Yeats Wensleydale’) was created.
With 80 Friesian cows and 200 sheep, Tom and Clare inherited a farm on the steep limestone crags that look to the Yorkshire Dales on one side and the Lake District on the other. But their lifelong dream of being dairy farmers soon hit cruel reality as the low price of milk meant that economically they were struggling to survive.
So in 2015, Tom and Clare visited The Courtyard Dairy to ask about the potential of adding value to their milk and making an unpasteurised farmstead cheese. With much encouragement they went on a course and Tom set about building a complete dairy by hand (from walls, to plumbing to refrigeration and flooring). By November of that year they had a fully-functional dairy and they started to make cheese based on a simple ‘smallholder’ recipe (like a mild Cheddar).
Seeking to develop a cheese unique to their farm they spoke to Andy of The Courtyard Dairy, who suggested branching out into a Wensleydale or traditional ‘Dales’ style of cheese. This would traditionally have been made in the area where they are located, is fast and easy to make (so it could fit around their farming routine), and unpasteurised farm-made Wensleydale was unique. Taking the basic old recipes from Andy (inclduing the main basis: a 1933 recipe for Wensleydale from an old MAFF book), Clare set about re-creating a traditional Wensleydale … and Fellstone was born – a three-month-old traditional Dales-style cheese. Continuing the age-old traditions of farmers’ wives, Clare now makes Fellstone every Tuesday, when her mother comes to look after the next generation of farmers and cheese makers – their four young children!
Fellstone / Whin Yeats Wensleydale is still being developed, as changes are made to the recipe gradually to further improve the cheese, to make it even more evocative of the traditional Dales-style northern cheeses that would have been found in their area.
Cheese was made on Whin Yeats farm before the Second World War but production then ceased for decades …. Tom and Clare have revived Whin Yeats farm cheese-making. The name ‘Fellstone’ comes form being on the fell-side but also the Burrow’s (whom Clare and Tom took over the farm from), remember their Grandma making cheese on the farm – the farmhouse they built is called Fellstone.
The mini-truckle weighs around 1 kg.
What weight to buy?
100g of cheese per person for consumption after a meal. For comparison, 250g is similar in size to standard pack of butter.
Cheese care and shelf life:
The cheese you receive will have been cut fresh for you from a large truckle on the day of dispatch, to ensure it will be at its best! At The Courtyard Dairy there’s no pre-cutting and vac-packing or waxing, and that’s guaranteed!
To ensure your amazing cheese stays at its best, please follow this care advice:
Storage-wise, a fridge is a mixed blessing because although a fridge is cold and will prevent your cheese from spoiling quickly, it can taint the cheese and make it dry out quickly. To prevent this, the best thing is to wrap your cheese tightly in waxed paper (if you need more you can buy it here), and then store the wrapped packages in a plastic box inside the fridge.
Remove your cheese from the fridge in enough time for it to warm up to room temperature before you eat it (at least one hour) – this will really help bring the flavours out, but leave it wrapped until you are ready to serve it (unwrapped cheese dries out faster than wrapped cheese).
If you don’t eat your cheese all in one go, re-wrap it and store it in the fridge again. Then, when you next want some, give the cut edges a ‘clean’: take a flat bladed knife and give the cut cheese faces a gentle scrape all over to remove the gloss that has formed .
Your cheese is at its best if eaten within twelve days although it will last a little longer before it loses its full complexity of flavours – so try to eat it up sooner rather than later!