Cheesemaking In Ribble Valley
Since as early as the 13th century, local dairy farmers have been making cheese by curdling surplus milk. This could even be done in the smallest of farms, where relatively low daily quantities of surplus milk were accumulated over time until there was enough curd to make cheese.
Two- or three- days’ worth of curd of varying maturity are blended together. This results in a moist and soft cheese that’s unique to Lancashire, much different from other, harder British cheeses.
By the 1890s, this unique cheesemaking method had been standardised throughout the country – and even managed to survive an efficiency-driven ban during WWII! Since then, it no longer mattered that Lancashire Creamy takes more time and effort to make than Cheshire and Cheddar. Its worth it and it shows; the traditional method dating back centuries is still in use in Ribble Valley to this day.
Types of Cheese
Matured for up to 12 weeks. Fluffy, gentle, open-textured cheese with a rich creamy flavour and smooth buttery finish.
Best for-Cheese on toast, Welsh rarebit, sandwiches.
Made by the same traditional method as Creamy Lancashire, but it’s matured for longer, from 12 weeks to 24 months. It has a strong, nutty taste.
Best for– Ploughman’s lunch, cheeseboard, cheese and onion pie.
Created in the 1950s and usually matured for 6-8 weeks; a relatively young cheese. It uses a single day’s milk, resulting in a crumbly texture and crisp flavour.
Best for– fruit cake, crumbled on salads, accompaniment to granny smith apples.
Identifying and sourcing good quality Lancashire cheese
So how can you detect a good, true Lancashire cheese? First, look out for a ‘creamy’ or ‘tasty’ profile, then check to make sure it is made on a farm and bound with cloth. Some varieties are made using industrial techniques. including waxing and vac-packing – they can therefore be too sharp, crumbly and one-dimensional. A good, true Lancashire cheese has a texture that is light and fluffy (not dense and firm like Cheddar), and a buttery, long-lasting flavour with a zippy, lactic tang.
An extensive range of Ribble Valley’s local cheeses are available to purchase across the area at local outlets. A large selection can be found in Bowland Food Hall, Clitheroe. Bashall Barn Farm Shop near Bashall Eaves, Chipping Farm Shop, and Little Town Farm Shop near Longridge are also proud stockists of Ribble Valley cheeses—in addition to other locally produced food and drink.
Some of our suppliers make and sell Lancashire cheese, take a look at them here…