Probably our most popular smoked cheese and it really comes into its own at Christmas. This is Cheesemonger Claire's favourite cheese on the counter but wouldn't be for those who prefer a more lightly smoked cheese.
Lincolnshire Poacher is aged for 14 to 16 months, then sent to a local family-run smokehouse where is it cold smoked over untreated dampened oak chips for 24 hours. Cold smoking gives the cheese a natural golden brown/orange colour to the outside. The smoked flavours are lovely and strong but you can still taste the maturity of the cheese through them.
Produced on a farm in the Lincolnshire Wolds by brothers Simon and Tim Jones - ten miles from the coast, in an area where there is very little dairy farming never and where cheese production is virtually unknown. The drier climate and well-drained chalky soil allows them a particularly long grazing season.
The cheese is produced to a recipe which is a cross between a traditional West Country Cheddar and an Alpine cheese such as Comte - something which you really appreciate from the dense creamy texture of the cheese.
For the environmentally conscious among us their aim is to manage the farm and business to have as little negative impact on the environment as possible with a large number of renewable projects going such as wine turbines, solar panels and specialist heating.
The farm is currently being run by the fourth generation of Jones - it was Simon who started teh cheesemaking business back in 1992. He took on cheesemaker Richard Tagg who is still head cheesemaker, they have since created a bigger dairy and now the vast majority of the farm's milk is turned into cheese.
We generally stock the standard Poacher which is matured for 14 to 16 months and which is full of flavour. Having said that the flavour and texture of the cheese can vary seasonally depending on the time of year, stage of lactation, weather and other factors. Every batch is tasted at 12 months old and they decide whether it is a Poacher or to be aged longer to be Vintage which is aged for around 2 years.
So you can use Smoked Cheddar as a Cheddar in cooking where you want to add some lovely smokey depth to a recipe. We've been told it's amazing as a Macaroni and Smoked Cheese - sounds incredible!
Drink Recommendation - we don't stock one but we would give this a try with a peaty Malt Whisky such as an Islay.
Cracker Recommendation (we also have a GF version of these):