Lactic-fresh, with a honeyed finish
- Sheep's Milk
Dave and James Bartlett showcase the very best of their rich pasture and small milking-sheep herd with this young, lactic French-style cheese. At four weeks old ‘Dumpling’ has a fresh core, and rich, honey-sweet flavours.
More about this
The Bartlett family have been farming at Sunnyside Farm in Somerset since the 1960s, mainly beef cattle. But when the recent generation brothers Dave and James Bartlett took over the family farm in 1999, they decided to change the whole outlook. After speaking to nearby famous cheese-maker Mary Holbrook, who was looking for someone to take over her cheese-making of Little Ryding (a Brie-style sheep’s milk cheese), they decided to put their fabulous traditional meadow and orchard land, with its big diversity of grasses, clover and flowers, to better use making richly-flavoured milk.
So in 2000 the Bartlett brothers bought 200 milking sheep (Friesland breed) and became registered organic – this helping to produce top quality milk by getting the most out of their diverse pasture. The following year they converted a stone barn into a cheese-making room. And so it could begin. Over the ten years since then, they have developed several mainly Brie-style cheeses, bought nine Jersey cows to add to their herd, and started making their famous sheep’s milk yogurt.
In the last four years they have been working on a lactic-style cheese called ‘Dumpling’. This is based on French recipes where the cheese is set very slowly (over 12-18 hours) with minimal use of rennet, being mainly acidified naturally. Unlike the Brie style recipes, this really allows the rich sheep’s milk and pasture (sheep’s milk is naturally richer and fuller flavoured than cows’ milk) to show through at it’s best. Dumpling cheese drains under gravity, before growing a natural yeast geotrichum rind that over the next four weeks of maturation will help break the Dumpling down to give honeyed, grassy flavours to counteract it’s lactic, fresh core.
Dumpling cheese remains seasonal, being made when the sheep are out at pasture from March to October, and only comes back into season after the lambing each year.
NB Sometimes Dumpling cheese can be found with just the simple name ‘Bartlett cheese’.
Each cheese weighs 180g+.
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!