From the beginning, at the St Andrews Cheese Company it has always been our aim to make two or three styles of cheese – and make them well – rather than attempt to quickly create a dozen or more varieties and perhaps never truly ‘master’ the art of any.
All of the St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company cheeses are made using unpasteurised milk from our own herd of Holstein Friesian cows, heritage pint cultures, traditional rennet, and a very generous measure of passion.
Cheesemaking is a craft that requires skill and patience – both in the creation and the subsequent maturation (‘age does not matter unless you are a cheese’!). Our St Andrews Farmhouse Cheddar style cheese, in particular, requires nine months to develop the bold flavour characteristics that you love – but, as every good mother knows, a nine month wait is well worth it, and the end result brings much excitement!
Anster cheese takes its name from the local fishing town of Anstruther which lies a few miles along the coast and can be seen from our farm here. This cheese was the first that we made, and is a ‘Cheshire’ style recipe. Typically aged for 2 – 4 months, during which time it naturally develops a thin grey edible rind. Anster cheese has a crumbly texture, which dissolves in the mouth to give a full flavour, and a lingering ‘lemony’ tang on the finish.
Although Anster is typically matured for 2 – 4 months, we keep back a few to age for longer. The end result after 7 – 9 months is something altogether more pungent – a flaky texture and flavour intensity not dissimilar to parmesan. This ‘aged’ cheese is used seasonally by Trotters Independent condiments for their ‘Wild Garlic Pesto’, and all year round by G H Barnett , baker in Anstruther, for their ‘Anster Cheese Oatcakes’.
The flavour added ‘sister’ cheese to Anster follows the same recipe, but with added annatto (a natural red food colour derived from a seed), fresh chives and fresh garlic. The fresh herbs are added during the cheesemake, and they mature in the cheese to give a marvellous ‘savoury’ note to the final matured product. We think it is delicious with salads and barbecued meats – and we find that it is particularly enjoyed by our very young customers. A great way to tempt your children to eat ‘real’ cheese!
Anster cheese is smoked for us locally by East Pier Smokehouse at St Monans – where they use traditional methods with real oak and beech chips. The crumbly texture of our cheese lends itself well to absorption of the smoke – and after 6 – 8 hours a rich amber colour develops. Try it with smoked Pittenweem haddock kedgeree for an East Neuk of Fife taste sensation!
St Andrew's Farmhouse Cheddar
We all know that Cheddar is one of the most popular cheeses in the UK, and so Robert and I always felt that we should include a ‘cheddar style’ of cheese in our range. St Andrews Farmhouse Cheddar is a buttery yellow cheese with a creamy texture which is slightly softer than a typical cheddar. Aged for 9 – 12 months for a bold flavour and a well rounded lingering finish – we follow the basic elements of a traditional cheddar recipe – but with a couple of ‘tweaks’ to produce our very popular modern British cheese.