Ruby Lancashire

Buttery, yoghurty, sharp.

  • Unpasteurised
  • Cows' Milk
  • Suitable in Pregnancy

This ruby Lancashire is a twist on the classic creamy Lancashire made by generations of the Kirkham family on their own family farm with raw-milk from their 70 cows (they are the very last producer of raw-milk Lancashire cheese).

Ruby Lancashire is made by colouring their classic Lancashire using annatto, the same colourant used for red Leicester, which gives the cheese a bright ruby appearance and also helps retain a softer texture in the final cheese, one that melts in the mouth and imparts a sharp-sour tang.

The Courtyard Dairy is one of only two shops which still have Kirkham’s Lancashire made for them in a traditional 25kg (56lb) wheel.  This size of Kirkham’s Lancashire ages slower, producing a better, longer-lasting flavour.

Made by Graham Kirkham in Goosnargh, Lancashire, England.

More about this

This ruby Lancashire is a twist on the classic creamy Lancashire made by generations of the Kirkham family. It originally came about as a one-off special to celebrate the ‘Ruby Anniversary’ of Mrs Kirkham’s 40 years on Beesley Farm (where she moved to after taking over cheese-making from her Mum). Using annatto (and vegetarian rennet) changed the texture of their Lancashire cheese, so they decided to make small quantities of Ruby Lancashire throughout the year, matured a bit longer to complement the softer texture with a sharp-sour tang.

Graham learnt to make Lancashire cheese from his mother (the famous Mrs Kirkham) who learnt from her mother, and there is an even longer history of cheese making in the Kirkham family.

Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese is the last and only farmhouse Lancashire made from unpasteurised milk, with history of Lancashire cheese dating back to the 13th century it fell out of favour in recent generations.  It was even banned during the second world war as it was inefficient to make compare with other recipes like Cheshire and Cheddar – the 200 farm producers in 1939 simply stopping producing creamy Lancashire.

The Kirkham family have continued to make both creamy (aged up to 12 weeks) and tasty (aged over 12 weeks) Lancashire cheese.  This is a more traditional version of Lancashire than the crumbly Lancashire now made by many modern dairies.  The modern dairy version was an invention to speed up the process of making cheese and make a drier, more crumbly, tart cheese.

Traditional creamy and tasty Lancashire is made over two-days (or sometimes even three or four).  It involves using curd from both days (this method originated because some small farmers in Lancashire did not have a big enough herd to make cheese on one day, so would combine several days-worth of curd).  Using the two-day curd method produces a rich yet light and fluffy texture, and helps develop the yoghurty, fresh acidic flavours.

Kirkham’s Lancashire is then traditionally clothbound and ‘buttered-up’ (enclosing the cheese in a buttered cloth to enable it to breath) and aged for 3-6 months.

Over recent years Graham Kirkham has expanded output (increasing the herd from 40 to 100 cows), built a new dairy and returned to even more traditional ways of making Lancashire cheese, producing a lactic, yoghurty-buttery flavour with a fluffy texture that melts in the mouth.  This gives Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese the “buttery crumble” that Lancashire folk love!  Graham’s favourite way to cook his cheese is they way his Mum (Mrs Kirkham) taught him – ‘Cheesey Eggs’, click here to read the recipe.

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.

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