Sparkenhoe Mature - Neal's Yard Dairy


Only 3 left!

Available by the half pound

A more mature, meatier version of Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, selected by Neals Yard and aged for up to 12 months in total, creating richly savoury, brothy flavours and a texture that is crunchier and more crystalline than elastic.

Historically all Red Leicester cheese was made in the county of Leicestershire, using raw milk. A hard cheese with a longer shelf life than soft or blue cheeses, it was a favourite of Stilton makers, who made it with surplus milk; indeed, some continue to make a more commercial, pasteurised version. But until David and Jo Clarke decided to revive the practice in 2005, Red Leicester in its traditional raw milk and cloth-bound incarnation had been extinct for 50 years. Though neither David nor Jo had any experience of cheesemaking, they had inherited a herd of Holstein-Friesians, whose pedigree and quality had been carefully overseen by the Clarke family for three generations. Drawing on a combination of old books and local advice, the pair recovered the traditional recipe and set to converting the milk of their 150 cows into Red Leicester, using animal rennet and annatto, a natural plant dye obtained from a South American bush that has been used in the colouration of cheeses for almost 300 years. The cheese is clothbound with lard, as is traditional. As it matures, the texture dries and the flavour strengthens and deepens, from savoury, smooth and mellow, to nutty and rich.

Unpasteurized Cow's Milk

Warwickshire, England