One of the pleasures of running this blog is the opportunity to find and learn about great products. Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar Cheese is one that I was introduced to recently. I was invited to the Royal Bath and West Show to join other bloggers in a little Cheese Toastie competition. My recipe, which won, was an Nduja, Pear, Honey and Barbers 1833 Cheddar Cheese Toastie (picture above and recipe below).
Our host, Giles Barber and his team introduced us to their flagship cheese and showed us around the British Cheese Awards. They invite Sheppy’s Cider along for a Cheese and Cider tasting too. (see below)
About Barber’s and their Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar Cheese
Barber’s 1833 is probably one the oldest artisanal Cheddar Cheese maker in the UK. The current team at Barber’s is the sixth generation of Cheesemakers. They have been making their cheddar since 1833 at the Maryland Farm in Ditcheat, Somerset. They have over 2000 acres of dairy farmland for their 2500 herd of Holstein Fresian dairy cows.
They still use old “cheddaring” technique with a traditional starter culture which gives West Country Cheddar it’s distinctive flavour. Today, they are the custodian of this starter culture and supply surrounding cheddar cheese producers. This cheese has the European Community registered ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ (PDO) for “West Country Farmhouse Cheddar’. The PDO ensures you that the cheddar is made only from local milk produced within the four counties of Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.
Although much of the production today is automated, the cheese maker’s expertise is required to judge the progress of each vat of milk to see how it reacts to the culture. As with other cheese producers around the world, the quality of the milk changes depending on the season and the feed. Each vat of milk in production has to be adjusted to create a consistent quality product.
The 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar Cheese is aged for 24 months resulting in a cheese that is intense and creamy that has a slightly crunchy texture from the crystals that form during ageing. It is great eaten on its own or grated and sliced for cooking or for making fabulous cheese toasties.
In addition to the main product, they also make some other cheeses with an Alpine Culture, Helveticus, which makes a sweeter hard cheese. Barber’s 1833 is available from all leading supermarkets and delis.
Barber’s Cheese and Sheppy’s Cider pairing
Louisa from Sheppy’s Cider led us through a tasting of 4 of their ciders paired with Barber’s 1833 cheese. We tasted the Single Variety, Oakwood, Vintage Reserve and the new Blackberry and Elderflower. The Single Variety, I thought, really enhanced the creaminess of the cheese but it was the Elderflower Cider that caught everyone’s attention. It has only just been introduced to the market and I expect it will be a real hit over the summer.
Sheepy’s is another centuries old family run company in Somerset who have been in the cider making business in the area for generations. They have their own cider orchards which produce many varieties of apples to make the cider. Their product range has changed as tastes have evolved. It is this innovation that has brought the introduction of the newest product, the elderflower cider.
EatCookExplore was a guest of Barber’s 1833 at the Royal Bath and West Show