Monday, March 21, 2011
The Cheesemaker of Auld Lochnagar
This last weekend I was at the Cheese & Wine Festival on London's Southbank, giving a talk on cheese and wine matching with Rhuaridh Buchanan of Paxton & Whitfield.
One of the cheeses we tasted was a cheddar-style cheese called Auld Lochnagar and Rhuaridh had brought the impressively kilted cheesemaker, Alex Reid of Cambus O'May (above) along to his stand.
It turned out that he had been in the oil business but had decided to revive the family cheesemaking tradition with a recipe from his grandmother that hadn't been used since the 70s.
His principle cheese is an unpasteurised cheddar-style cheese called Cambus O'May which is made from the curds from an evening and morning milking in the old farmhouse style. You can just about see the variation in the colour, below.
It's clean, mellow and well-balanced - not as sharp as a cheddar but with a real depth of flavour.
The deep orange Auld Lochnagar, which is coloured with annato (see back of the main picture), is aged for longer and has more 'bite' though again not as pronounced as a mature farmhouse cheddar. It's therefore rather kinder to wine - I paired it successfully with an organic Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from Vintage Roots - and, according to Alex, a good match for a Speyside whisky!
The creamery is based in Ballater on Royal Deeside and the cheeses are widely stocked throughout Scotland. You can also buy them online from the Virtual Farmers' Market as well as at Paxton & Whitfield.