Our round-up of some fine Devon cheesemakers
Sharpham Dairy is owned by Greg and Nicky Parsons, who are both hands-on. This small team of cheesemakers has over 100 years of experience between them, led by production manager Peter Howarth, who earned his cheesemaking stripes with Sharpham’s former head cheesemaker, Debbie Mumford. The dairy produces an award-winning range of Jersey cow, goat and sheep milk cheeses.
Greg has spent his career in the food industry – much of it in dairy – and he and Nicky share a passion for Sharpham, artisan cheesemaking and British cheese. In April, Sharpham Dairy became the very first UK dairy cheesemaker to become a certified B Corporation. B Corps are businesses that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
Vulscombe Cheese is a goat’s cheese producer that makes a soft, crumbly cheese with a very delicate, mild, creamy taste.
The cheeses are all made by hand in Tiverton. They come in a variety of flavours, including black peppercorn, sun-dried tomato, and herb and garlic, with the herbs being selected when in season from owners Joyce and Graham Townsend’s garden.
Vulscombe cheeses are available for sale online from a number of local retailers.
Set in the rolling hills of Gunstone is Norsworthy Dairy Goats, a small dairy producer that sells a range of seven cheeses from a herd that is reared on its farm near Crediton.
There’s a good selection of flavours and textures – softer cheeses with mild flavours to harder, buttery cheeses, or the occasional smoked variety. There’s a soft cheese rolled in charcoal, or, why not try the medium-soft cheese seasoned with onion, garlic, ginger, horseradish and paprika.
Norsworthy Dairy’s cheese can be found at markets and events across Devon, including Exeter, Plymouth, Totnes, Tavistock and Crediton.
Based in Bovey Tracey on the edge of Dartmoor is The Cheese Shed. Although traditionally a shop that stocks other local cheeses, The Cheese Shed has started producing some of its own. This includes Bovey Straight, described as a hard cheese that is less acidic than traditional cheddar, but just as flavoursome.
The Cheese Shed has also made a trio of cheeses called Parke, Pepperdon and Drogo – scrumptious soft cheeses all named after local landmarks, seasoned with herbs, peppercorns and garlic. All the cheeses are exclusive to the shop.
Curworthy Cheese, made at Stockbeare Farm, produces a range of soft to hard cheeses, such as Devon Oke, a full-fat, mature, hard cheese, and a soft variety called Devon Maid, with the strength described as between a Brie and a Camembert.
Curworthy Cheese has an online shop. It is also available in cheese shops and delis across the South West, and at local shows, fairs and markets.
Think of a Devon cheesemaker, and Quicke’s will undoubtedly come to mind, with the Quicke family having strong Devon roots and its cheesemaking dating back to the 70s using traditional recipes.
Based outside Exeter, it creates a number of cheeses on site. If you enjoy rich, crumbly cheddars, then look no further, thanks its range of buttery, oak-smoked, or longer matured varieties.
Quicke’s also produces oak-smoked goat’s cheese, elderflower-infused cheese, as well as its own Double Gloucester and Red Leicester, along with vegetarian options.
Ticklemore Cheese Dairy, based in picturesque Totnes, is an artisan cheesemaker that produces three cheeses from an assortment of locally sourced milks, including cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milks.
Using three different milks means Ticklemore can create a variety of blue cheeses, one of which is bound to suit your palate. These include Devon Blue – made with cow’s milk, Beenleigh Blue – made with sheep’s milk, and Harbourne Blue – made with goat’s milk.
These blue cheeses would be the perfect addition to your fresh summer salad, or could even add some sharpness to a delicious savoury tart.
Ticklemore’s cheeses are available for purchase at independent cheese retailers throughout Devon, as well as further afield across the country.