Isle of Mull Cheddar, the 'King' of Scottish cheese, is made on the Hebridian island from which it takes its name. A raw cow's milk cheese made to a traditional farmhouse recipe and matured for eighteen months, Isle of Mull Cheddar is pale ivory in colour with a yeasty aroma and full, savoury flavour. Its sharp, fruity tang comes from the cows enjoying fermented grain from nearby Tobermory Whisky Distillery.
• Unpasteurised cow's milk
• Traditional rennet.
What's special about Isle of Mull Cheddar?
Isle of Mull Cheddar is made by the Reade family on their farm near Tobermory, the principal town on the island from which their flagship cheese takes its name. Isle of Mull is part of the Inner Hebrides off the West coast of Scotland. Jeff and Christine Reade, who began making cheese in Somerset in the 1980s, moved to this remote spot some twenty years ago. They have now been joined in the business by two of their four sons. Sgriob-ruadh Farm (Gaelic meaning 'Red Furrow' and pronounced Ski-brooah) produces its own energy from wind, wood and a hydroelectric plant. The Reade family aim to make their cheese as naturally and sustainably as possible, maximising the limited resources of the island. They have set up a heat exchange system that uses heat removed from evening milk to warm it back up for cheese making the following morning.
The cows on Sgriob-ruadh Farm are most Friesians, with a few Ayrshire, Jersey and Brown Swiss cows also mixed in the herd. They graze on luxuriant grass pastures in spring and early summer. During winter months they are fed hay. The cows also enjoy additional fodder in the form of fermented grain from nearby Tobermory Whisky Distillery. This gives the cheese its distinctive, lingering tang at the finish. Isle of Mull truckles are clothbound with lard and matured for eighteen months. Those cheeses made in winter, when the cows are being fed hay, are typically paler in appearance than those made when fresh, green grass is available. Some natural blue veining may be found, this is intrinsic to the cheese.
In flavour, Isle of Mull Cheddar is hearty and richly savoury. It is drier in texture than other Cheddars, and also slightly nuttier in taste. It is well matched by a spoonful of fruity chutney and an oatcake. Pair it with a full-bodied Merlot, or perhaps a wee dram of single malt whisky this Burns Night!