The tan rind and golden yellow paste, show this cheese’s alpine origins – the recipe is based on a Swiss Gruyère, with a little inspiration from the Alps. Twelve-month cheeses are brothy and spicy with a long finish of Szechuan pepper while older ones often have an intriguing red fruit flavour, and the tingle of fresh pineapple on the tongue. Reflecting its British origin, Hard Pressed has the texture of a farmhouse Cheddar rather than the supple texture of Gruyère, and is clean and sharp, with none of the farmyardy character of its alpine cousins.
With a pink sticky rind, springy texture, and farmy aroma, this cheese is a classic Raclette style. You could serve it on a cheese board, or in a sandwich with an authoritative sweet chutney, but London Raclette really comes into its own when you melt it. The rich gooey texture delivers umami, funkiness, with a winey note you don’t get in the traditional French Raclettes, a unique character that speaks of the Kentish/London terroir and the delicate touch of Kappacasein’s cheesemakers.
A nod to the medieval Bermondsey Priory, the name is also an instruction: While you can eat it uncooked, noting its amusingly squeaky texture, this cheese is born to be fried. Add salt & pepper and fry until golden brown to release a comforting savoury flavour like well-done roast beef, milky sweetness, and a trace of fresh acidity. While it looks like Halloumi, Friar is actually based on the Italian Formaggio Cotto, a cheese made by putting some of the curd from the day’s making into a separate mould, and using before it has had a chance to develop a rind.
With its origins in the ancient Greek cheese, Oxygla, Ricotta has a long pedigree. The name means ‘re-cooked’ and the method speaks to the thriftiness of traditional cheesemakers. After cheesemaking, the already warm whey is re-heated to create a second helping of curds. These are lifted out, drained and ladled into jars to be served fresh. Sweet, creamy and delicate, it makes an excellent ravioli or lasagne, and a baked cheesecake for afters. Or you could sit there in your pyjamas eating it straight from the jar with a spoon.
Delicate, milky, with a light refreshing acidity this yoghurt is set undrained in individual pots, giving it a texture like soft blancmange. There’s plenty of cream in the rich high-quality milk from the happy, healthy cows of Commonwork farm, which rises during the set, producing an enticingly rich yellow cream layer on top.
Made by straining salted yoghurt, Labneh is popular in the Levant and Egypt, where it might be rolled into balls and lightly marinaded in olive oil and herbs, or just used as a simple dip. Kappacasein’s version is a rich golden yellow colour and has the luxuriant texture of clotted cream. Unlike simple cream, fermentation adds acidity and a little complexity, as of the fresh straw in a Summer barn.