Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Surrounded by all those festive nibbles and treats and indulging to your heart’s content. When one of those delights is the finely made cheese from the brilliant folks at High Weald Dairy, well, Christmas just gets even more wonderful.
12 Makers of Christmas - High Weald Dairy
Sheepishly good cheese
High Weald Dairy isn’t far from where Winnie The Pooh had his adventures and enjoyed many a pot of honey. And as much as we love our honey, there’s something a little cheesier just down the road from Pooh’s beloved Ashdown Forest that’s caught our attention. Especially at this time of the year. Mark and Sarah Hardy have been turning lovely sheep’s milk into dreamy cheese going on two decades now, and their experience counts for a lot. As Mark’s right-hand man says, “The clock doesn’t know how to make cheese”, while keeping an eye on a huge vat of milk that’s slowly being stirred and will soon become their famous and award-winning Saint Giles Cheese. Creamy, smooth and rich, your Christmas cheeseboard wouldn’t quite be as merry without this wondrous wedge.
A little wander through the dairy and there’s temptation in every direction: feta cheese is being cut in the main room, wedges of Duddleswell Sheep’s Cheese are being wrapped in the packing room, and ricotta is being prepared in the chill room. And then there’s the ageing room, a serene space that’s Mark’s “de-stressing room”, as he puts it. Shelves are laden with trucks of blue cheese, Sussex Slipcote cheese, and Ashdown Forester’s cheese, which almost look too ornamentally pretty to eat (but it’s too good not to). It’s an absolute paradise for cheese-lovers.
Just outside the ageing room, the smell of oak chip perfumes the air from High Weald’s smoker. Whether it’s the comforting smell of wood burning or all the exquisite, mouth-watering cheese, we’re all of a sudden very much in the mood for Christmas. And there’s no jollier way to capture the festive spirit than with a block or two of High Weald Dairy’s lovely hand-made cheese.