Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.
We know that local milkmen have been growing in popularity again in recent years – first because of the plastic problem which the supermarket milk makes worse and because in recent times contactless deliveries of fresh goods have surged in popularity. One of the hidden benefits of this is that our local milk producers may well earn more from doorstep deliveries than the supermarkets, helping give producers a fair price for what they make! The next step is supporting British cheese to help give our dairy industry more widely a vital boost!
You’ve probably noticed that there are a huge variety of cheese, over 2000 world wide, and we’re lucky to have over 700 beautiful British cheeses to choose from. It won’t come as a huge surprise to many people that Britain’s favourite cheese is still Cheddar! It’s worth making sure that we don’t overlook soft goat’s cheeses and the harder sheep’s cheeses when we want something a little bit different. You can get delightful concoctions mixed up with herbs, spice or fruits, so there’s really something produced near you which will suit your taste.
A lot of the hidden cheesy gems are tucked away in local farm shops and cheesemongers across the country, so when you are next on holiday pop in and get yourself something special from your holiday destination.
Nothing makes a Big Barn week quite as special as our unique facts, so here are 13 surprising cheese-themed facts:
1. Cheese often is made from cows milk, but you can have variants from sheep milk, goat milk, buffalo milk, horse milk and even camel milk! Cheese made from Moose milk is successfully made on a farm in Sweden, despite the short lactation period of the Moose.
2. To make cheese, milk has to be separated into curds and whey. Cheese itself is made with the curds.
3. Some cheeses, like Mature Cheddar, are stored for a year or longer before they are ready to eat.
4. Cheddar is named after the Cheddar Gorge caves in Somerset where the cheese used to be stored to ripen. Cheddar is one of the most widely made cheeses in the world.
5. The majority of Shropshire Blue actually originates in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.
6. Cheshire is one of the oldest British cheeses.
7. Cornish Yarg came from a recipe found in a book in a farmer’s attic.
8. Caerphilly was traditionally eaten by Welsh coal miners for their lunch.
9. Every spring sees locals in the village of Stilton, Peterborough, race along a course rolling Stilton shaped wheels.
10. Cheese production around the globe is more than the combined worldwide production of coffee, tobacco, tea, and cocoa beans.
11. A matchbox-sized piece of hard cheese provides a third of an adult’s daily requirement for calcium.
12. Cheese is a source of vitamin B12, which you need for red blood cell formation.
13. People of Greece are the largest consumers of cheese worldwide. An average person from Greece consumes around 27.3 kg of cheese every year, about ¾ of which is feta cheese.
While supermarkets actually are great places to source a variety of cheeses, it’s in your local cheesemonger, farm shop or deli where you’ll find Britain’s hidden gems and, no doubt, get the story behind them.
To buy a selection of delicious cheeses direct from the producer, visit the BigBarn Marketplace, or to discover tiny producers who may be churning unusual varieties in a village near you, search our local food map here. If you’re feeling particularly confident you could even try making your own cheese using a cheesemakers kit.
If you have a favourite cheese recipe that you’d like to share, or any other recipe, and would like the chance to win a prize, please video your recipe and add it to KIS (Keep it Simple) Cookery. Please have a look at existing videos here and try and keep your video less than 2 minutes long.