Our local cheese sales have never been stronger, and leading the pack at the moment is Lyburn’s Old Winchester. It’s a superb cheese for the board, but is also a great cooking ingredient, being a natural alternative to Parmesan Cheese.

Lyburn Cheese has been run by the Smales family for the last 50 years, based in the New Forest with their herd of pedigree Holstein-Frisians. The cows are milked twice a day, with the cheese-making starting up at 6 am every morning. The fresh milk is immediately pasteurised, then cooled for two hours before the starter is added for the vegetarian rennet.  This turns the milk into a soft curd that is cut to release the whey. The curds are placed in molds and stacked. The molds are pressed overnight, giving the cheese its shape, pressing the curds together, and releasing the last of the whey.

The perfectly formed cheeses are released the following morning and brined in a tank for 24 hours, absorbing 1.5% salt. They are finally dried, batched, and stacked in racks to mature.  In the case of Old Winchester, the ripening will take up to 18 months, alongside 10,000 other truckles, turned regularly to create this stunning cheese.

Nutty, dry, and hard, with that fantastic crystalline bite, it’s between a cheddar and a Gouda and should be a permanent fixture in your fridge.

Lyburn also make Stoney Cross (always in stock), Winchester, Smoked Winchester and Francis.