Colwick cheese goes back into production

Spoonful of Colwick cheese Colwick cheese is a soft, curdy cheese invented in the early 1600s by John Clarkson

A cheese first made in the 17th Century is being produced again by an East Midlands dairy - and has attracted interest from Jamie Oliver.

Colwick cheese originates from the Nottinghamshire village of the same name and was produced commercially until 1993.

Food historian Matthew O'Callaghan rediscovered the cheese whilst reading an old recipe book.

The cheese is being made by Eastwell Crossroads Farm, Leicestershire.

Mr O'Callaghan said he also hoped to get the cheese protected under European law, like Stilton and Melton Mowbray pork pies.

What is Colwick cheese?

A rare-breed Red Poll cow is used to make Colwick cheese.
  • Colwick cheese was invented in the 1650s in what was then Colwick village
  • It is a light cream cheese
  • It was made in dairies and in homes
  • It has traditionally been eaten as both a savoury and a sweet snack and was served with jam and fruit and even cucumbers
  • The production of the cheese died out because it has a relatively short shelf-life and health and safety regulations made it costly to produce
  • The revived cheese is made with pasteurised milk, which increases the shelf-life
  • Milk from rare-breed red poll cattle is used, which ensures more cheese per litre of milk

If successful, this would mean it could only be produced locally.

Mr O'Callaghan said: "The cheese hasn't been produced for about 20 years.

"I found the recipe in a book that dated from about 1890 and I decided to try to make it.

"It's a delicious cheese and should be more widely available."

Mr O' Callaghan approached Eastwell dairy farm to see if it was interested in producing the cheese.

Alan Hewson, who runs the farm, said he spent two years developing the recipe.

"We have had to adapt the recipe slightly to meet modern-day health standards but we have now got better facilities to do that," he said.

"The cheese now has a much longer shelf-life."

Mr Hewson said the cheese had attracted interest from several food retailers and he had even received an inquiry from chef Jamie Oliver.

The cheese will be launched at the third annual Artisan Cheese Fair in Melton Mowbray, on 4 and 5 May.

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