Soft, curdy and rich

  • Unpasteurised
  • Sheep's Milk

This cheese is currently out of season.  If you would like to know when it will be available for you to buy and enjoy, please let Andy know: [email protected].  In the meantime if you like this cheese you’ll love the  Amalthea as an alternative…

Set by gently acidifying the milk, Swallet is a fresh, curdy disc, with a honeyed ‘sheepy’ richness on the finish.  It’s sold at barely two-weeks old, and showcases the rich sweetness of the Gott’s delicious milk.  Only 90 are made each week, and then only during August and September.  Thankfully, The Courtyard Dairy gets 45 of those.

Made by Nicola Robinson and Martin Gott in Cartmel, Cumbria, England.

More about this

Martin Gott and Nicola Robinson’s cheese-making is dictated by the seasons – they only make sheep’s cheese after the lambing each year, when the milk flows.  The Gott’s most famous creation, St James, is made using the milk from their 110 Lacaune sheep.  When he was 16, Martin Gott helped famous cheese-maker James Aldridge, the pioneer of ‘washed rind’ cheeses in Britain, on his family farm, and then left to carry out apprenticeships at Kirkham’s Lancashire and Sleight Farm (with Mary Holbrook).

There he kept sheep and started experimenting with making a sheep’s milk cheese, initially making a small lactic-set cheese (which would eventually become Swallet) that was sold weekly at Bath farmers market.  But these fresh cheeses have a short shelf life, so Martin soon realised he would have to make a larger, more stable cheese, to be able to sell further afield.  Hence was born his most famous creation: St James.

In 2006, Martin and Nicola (his partner) decided to return to Cumbria to set-up by themselves on the Holker Estate, taking a tiny tenancy farm with two fields covering just 13 acres.  Martin and Nicola decided to use a non-intensive method of farming, only making cheese when the sheep are out at pasture, and only milking once a day (making for a less-stressed animal and a better-quality milk).  After some traumatic times setting up (including having to cull their whole herd), they returned to making St James cheese, and this rich intensive washed-rind has become one of Britain’s most talked about cheese (watch the video below).

For a long time, when St James became so popular, the little, fresh, lactic cheese, Swallet disappeared.  But still, every summer, when all the sheep are in full lactation and grazing the lush Cumbrian pasture, the Gott family have more milk than they can cope with.  And there’s only a limited market for the superb St James (they sell to only 3 wholesale customers, including The Courtyard Dairy).  So they have now decided to restart production of a very limited supply of the lovely Swallet.

Made to a French-style like Brebis and Perail, the milk for Swallet is set into curd slowly over two days before being hand-ladled into moulds and allowed to drain naturally.  The wrinkly Geotrichum yeast forms naturally on the rind over the next two weeks (it is naturally present in the sheep milk) and breaks down the curdy cheese to give more intense, farmy, savoury and sheep notes to the cheese.

Interested to know more?  Read this interview with Martin Gott.

Swallet is at its best for two-weeks from the date of delivery.  So, 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.

Weight: 1 x 180g cheese.

Customer reviews

  1. Rachel Hill

    OMG-heaven on a plate! Creamy, soft, melt in the mouth, full of fresh, tangy, raw, down to earth tastes, (I am no connaisseur-just a cheese lover so my adjectives are maybe not as eloquent as a foodie’s??) When i tried this-as it was my first cheese at the Courtyard – i hoped to find something different than my normal supermarket specials. Well did i ??? I am already an addict-i have visited the Courtyard 3 times a week for the last 2 weeks and am blown away by the quality of the cheese for a price that is yes, more expensive than usual, but my goodness, is damn worth it. A bit of luxury in a hard working life makes all the difference……

    • Andy

      Thanks Rachel!

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