The lockdown dozen

In Cheese by Sue Marshall

At least a dozen new ‘lockdown cheeses’ are set to grace the cheeseboards of some of the best UK pubs and restaurants.

Faced with huge losses in business as the hospitality sector was closed during successive lockdowns, UK artisan cheesemakers have adapted fast to survive, leading to a sudden boom of creativity and the arrival of more British cheeses in one year than ever before. While some cheesemakers have made new hard cheeses to store milk for longer periods, others have produced blue and soft cheeses to diversify their ranges for online sales. Following a recent flurry of new British cheeses, created in response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic the survival story of British cheese comes full-circle with the re-opening of the hospitality sector from 17 May, lockdown cheeses may feature on a cheeseboard at a hostelry near you. Or if you’ve gotten used to helping yourself at home, then order some in!

Lockdown dozen

  1. Lypiatt, The Old Cheese Room, Wiltshire

Made with ultra-creamy Jersey cow’s milk, this soft, lactic cheese has an ashed, wrinkly rind and a nice mix of citrus and buttery flavours.  

  1. Ashcombe, King Stone Dairy, Gloucestershire

Britain’s answer to Morbier, this supple organic cow’s milk cheese has a line of edible ash running through the centre and is earthy and savoury. 

  1. Holbrook, St James Cheese, Cumbria

Aged for around six months, this raw milk goat’s cheese is named after the late, great cheesemaker Mary Holbrook. Hard, crumbly and with complex herbaceous notes. 

La Fresca Margarita

4. La Fresca Margarita, Feltham’s Farm, Somerset

Inspired by ‘queso fresco’ from Mexico, this lemony and light organic cheese is perfect for crumbling over tacos. 

  1. Tinto, Errington Cheese, Lanarkshire

Matured for up to four months, Tinto is an unpasteurised Gouda-esque goat’s cheese. Sweet, sharp and earthy.  

  1. Little Lepe, Rosary Goats Cheese, Wiltshire

A pasteurised Crottin-style goat’s cheese, Little Lepe has a pretty ashed rind and brilliant white interior that is fresh and zingy with creamy, lemony notes.

Little Lepe  

  1. Heckfield, Village Maid Cheese, Berkshire

Heckfield’s gorgeously golden colour comes from Guernsey milk, sourced from nearby Heckfield Place and aged for nine months until brimming with buttery, umami flavours.

  1. St Helena, St.Jude Cheese, Suffolk

Suffolk’s answer to St Nectaire. This washed rind, raw cow’s milk cheese is made by Blake Bowden and Julie Cheyney at St.Jude Cheese near Bungay. Buttery, farmyard-y and squidgy.

  1. Ricotta Salata, High Weald Dairy, Sussex

Aged ricotta made from cow’s and sheep’s whey that adds a salty tang to dishes. Works well grated onto salads, roasted vegetables, tomatoes, pasta dishes or pizza.  

  1. Burt’s Blanc, Burt’s Cheese, Cheshire

A crumbly, clothbound Cheshire-style cheese produced by the makers of Burt’s Blue.  

  1. Balcombe Breeze, Balcombe Dairy, Sussex

A young alpine-style cow’s milk cheese, which has a dusty coat and delicate milky flavours. It could be thought of as a British Tomme.

  1. Poacher 50, Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese, Lincolnshire

A new Parmesan-style cheese, named after the temperature at which the curds are ‘scalded’ to achieve a firmer, harder texture. Won’t be ready until 2022!