This is the only washed rind sheep’s milk cheese we stock, if not the only one produced in the UK. It is made by Martin Gott and Nicola Robinson on the Holker Estate in Cumbria.
Martin started his cheesemaking career with apprenticeships at the age of 16. He and Nicola then started their own business in 2006 with St James being their most famous cheese. A washed rind cheese is one where during the aging/maturing process the rind is washed with a brine to develop an orange-coloured bacteria, producing incredibly rich, savoury flavours. They use non-intensive farming methods with the sheep only being milked once a day – this makes for a happier sheep who then produces better quality, richer milk.
St James is a truly seasonal cheese – the milk produced by the sheep from late Autumn through Winter isn’t good enough to produce the cheese and it becomes unavailable, milk then starts flowing again in Spring after lambing season and we tend to see the cheese return late February / early March time. The milk tends to take on the terroir of the land the sheep are farmed on, meaning the cheese will change taste, texture and smell throughout it’s months of availability.
This is a seasonal cheese and as such some batches may require more ripening than others before eating. The harder it is the more ripening it will require in the slightly warmer section of your fridge. We recommend taking it out of the fridge at least an hour before eating.