Ruby Dapple is a seasonal variation of local East Anglian cheese, Norfolk Dapple. Made by Ferndale Cheeses this cheddar-style cheese is infused with Vintage Ruby port.
The yellow paste of Ruby Dapple is marbled in appearance with subtle crimson veins. The cheese has a delicate fruity aroma and its flavour is smooth with a hint of sweetness as the festive flavour of port lingers long on the palate.
- Unpasteurised cows milk
- Animal rennet.
What's special about Ruby Dapple?
Ferndale Cheeses is the family-run producer of local East Anglian cheeses Norfolk Dapple and Norfolk Tawny. Their range also includes variations: Smoked Dapple, Carrow Dapple (with added mustard seeds) and our cheese of the month, their festive special, port-infused Ruby Dapple.
Based at Ferndale Farm in the picturesque Norfolk village of Little Barningham, Elinor Betts has been cheese making for nearly two decades. A couple of years ago she was joined in the business by her son Arthur when he returned to live in Norfolk with his wife and young family. Their cheese making uses raw cow's milk sourced daily from a local heard of pedigree Holsteins who graze at Abbey Farm in nearby Binham.
Dapple is a hard, pressed cheese made using a traditional "cheddaring" method: after draining off the whey (which goes to feed local pigs), the curds are cut into blocks, stacked and continually turned to encourage the removal of as much moisture as possible. The curds start to bind in these blocks, developing the stringy consistency of raw chicken fillets, before being milled into short strips, salted and packed into moulds. When making Ruby Dapple, port is added alongside the salt. This must be done quickly to ensure an even distribution of port through the cheese. Once in moulds, any further whey released from the port-flavoured curds is collected and poured back over the cheeses to further intensify the flavour.
The port used to create Ruby Dapple is a Vintage Ruby port chosen to maximise the flavour added by smaller volumes of liquid. The darker colour of Ruby port allows the cheese to develop its distinctive pattern of crimson veins. Arthur Betts has found trials with other lighter ports produce good flavour but result in little change in appearance from standard Dapple which makes the cheeses hard to differentiate. Ruby port adds a fruity aroma to the cheese and a subtle hint of sweetness but not enough to overpower the natural flavour of the cheese. Like standard Dapple, truckles of Ruby Dapple are clothbound and matured for between five and eight months.