Mature Lancashire

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Kirkham's Lancashire is made by third-generation cheesemaker Graham Kirkham on the family farm near Goosnargh. It is said to be the last farmhouse raw-milk Lancashire in the world. We source it from Neals Yard Dairy, whose cheesemongers regularly visit Graham’s farm to select young cheeses to send to their London maturing rooms for extended aging. Mature Kirkham’s Lancashire is aged here for up to 10 months for a deeper flavour and very satisfying tang. The texture, however, remains as buttery and crumbly as younger Lancashires. Read more

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Clare says …

This cheese has it all - deep and complex flavours combined with a unique crumbly texture.

The Nitty Gritty

Style
Crumbly

Milk

Cow

Pasteurisation

Unpasteurised

Vegetarian

No

Country of Origin

Lancashire, UK

Strength

Strong

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Tasting notes

Kirkham’s Lancashire is the last traditional raw-milk Lancashire cheese. It has a succulent, crumbly texture and a tangy lactic taste. Matured by Neal's Yard Dairy for up to a year, this mature Lancashire is denser and more full-bodied in flavour than younger Lancashire cheeses. Its taste is uniquely rich.

Today, Kirkham’s Lancashire cheeses are made by third-generation cheese-maker Graham Kirkham on the family farm on the outskirts of Goosnargh, looking out over Beacon Fell.

Kirkham’s Mature Lancashire pairs well with most dry white wines as well as soft reds.

  • Unpasteurised cow’s milk
  • Animal rennet

What is special about Kirkham’s Mature Lancashire?

The Kirkhams are the last farmhouse producers of unpasteurised Lancashire cheese. This alone makes their Lancashires unique, but this Mature Lancashire is even more special. Lancashires carry a lot of moisture and mature quickly so are usually sold at about 3–6 months. However, this cheese is carefully matured for around 10 months by Neal’s Yard Dairy using a labour-intensive process developed in-house. The result is a deeper flavour and very satisfying tang. The texture, however, remains as buttery and crumbly. When melted, it develops a soft silky, custard-like texture with a remarkable aroma.

To be a true Lancashire, it must be made in Lancashire with Beacon Fell in view from the cheese room. The Kirkham family has been farming and making cheese in Lancashire for three generations. Today, Graham Kirkham, the son of the original Mrs Kirkham, is the chief cheesemaker at Beesley Farm, where the dairy does duly overlook Beacon Fell.

Kirkham's Lancashire is widely regarded as the best thanks to the quality of the raw milk used to make it. This milk comes from the family’s herd of Holstein Friesian cattle, who graze on pastures close to the Irish Sea. Their milk is said to possess qualities of the sea salt driven by the wind into the grass.

The welfare and comfort of the herd is crucial to the Kirkhams. Through winter, the cows are kept inside in roomy cubicles with slatted floors, so the ground is always clean. In summer they roam outside during the day before returning back inside at night.

The cheese-making process is long and slow. Lancashire is made traditionally in layers using "two-day curd" — curd from yesterday's production combined with today's. The first step is an overnight pre-ripening of the milk, designed to activate the native cheese-making bacteria. Graham uses only a tiny amount of starter culture and works the curds carefully to drain them at their own gentle pace over the course of many hours. The formed cheese is then wrapped in cloth, which is kept moist with a brine rub. After wrapping, the cheese is rubbed in butter and left to mature.

Kirkham’s Mature Lancashire works well with most dry white wines. We particularly recommend Chablis, which brings out the bright citrusy flavour. Muscadet, Loire Sauvignon (Sancerre), Chenin Blanc Dry (Vouvray), or a New World Sauvignon Blanc also pair well. If you prefer red, try a soft one, such as California Pinot Noir, Rhône Syrah or California Cabernet Sauvignon.

The dark fruit flavours of an Oloroso Sherry also work particularly well with the long nutty finish, along with bright dry ciders, such as Aspall Premier Cru.

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