Businesses up and down Britain have been told to take heed and look at what a Cornish cheesemaker is doing and they too will be successful.
One Cornish cheesemaker is so good at what it does it has been chosen as an example of best practice for the whole of the UK.
Lynher Dairy, home of the world famous Cornish Yarg, has been selected to appear in the 2017 edition of The Parliamentary Review.
The Review is a Government publication that flagships the very best practice in British businesses.
Intended to celebrate excellence and to raise standards, the document is sent out to tens of thousands of leading policymakers and businesses, showcasing British food producers and manufacturers at the very top of their game.
The articles act as both a blueprint for success and a template for reform.
Catherine Mead, owner and director of Lynher Dairies home of Cornish Yarg and Cornish Kern
Catherine Mead, owner and director of Ponsanooth-based Lynher Dairies, said: “We are delighted and proud to be chosen to appear in such an influential review.
“2017 has been a busy and innovative year for us. The launch of our new cheese, Kern, has seen the dairy grow, not just in terms of space with the opening of our new building, but also in terms of our skills and investment.
“We hope our working practice will inspire others to reach for the top, too.”
Yarg, albeit not always under this name, has been made in Cornwall for hundreds of years. But it’s been done – always by hand at every step of the way, and mostly by local people – from the Ponsanooth site for 17 years.
Cheese making is an ancient art form and making Cornish Yarg is no different. It takes time to make a produce cheese. About a month all in all for Yarg, making it one of the youngest cheeses on the market.
But young doesn’t mean flavourless. And that’s where Yarg’s nettle robe or wild garlic cover comes into play to give the cheese its distinct look, smell and taste.
Cornish Yarg was first produced 30 years ago on Bodmin Moor by a farmer named Alan Gray, who found a 17th century recipe for nettle wrapped cheese in an attic and decided to give it a go.
One of the best known facts about Yarg is that it comes from the backward spelling of his surname.
The Horrell family bought the recipe and the dairy moved to Upton Cross at Liskeard. Catherine Mead joined the Horrells in the 1990s and when the Horrells retired, a new dairy was built near Catherine’s home at Ponsanooth in 2001.
All production moved there in 2006. It’s not just the cheese that wins accolades – the dairy building has one too, a coveted RIBA award.
Lynher Dairies, with a £2.5m turnover and 30 staff, is now one of the most successful makers of artisan cheese in Britain.
Yarg won Best English Cheese at the International Cheese Awards 2013, Wild Garlic Yarg, now ten years in production, scooped a coveted Great Taste Awards Supergold in 2015 and Lynher’s new cheese, Cornish Kern (due for launch later this year) won Best Modern British Cheese at the British Cheese Awards in 2014.
Cows’ milk is used to produce Cornish Yarg
All cheeses start with milk. Some 11,000 litres of cows’ milk come into the dairy every day from farms around Cornwall.
The milk is pasteurised at 73 degrees centigrade for 25 seconds to kills off all nasty bacteria.
It then passes through two vats where a starter culture is add to start the fermentation process.
Some 45 minutes late the rennet, a natural coagulant, is added to help the milk curdle.
Curd and whey are stirred for 45 minutes to separate them. (Image: Sally Adams)
Once curd – the hard bits – and whey – the watery bit – start separating, they are stirred for 45 minutes until the vat is full of what looks like cottage cheese floating in thick yellowish water.
Curd and whey are then poured onto a filtering table where the whey is drained off.
The remaining curd is then cut into increasingly smaller blocks before being milled into small ‘chips’ and poured into steel moulds.
Yarg is produced in 900g, 1.7kg and large 3.2kg sizes all of which are known as ‘truckles of cheese’ or ‘wheels of cheese’.
Hard curd, drained off all the whey is cut into blocks, then twice more. (Image: Sally Adams)
It takes about 10 litres of milk to make 1kg of cheese. And every year, Lynher Dairies produce 210 tonnes of cheese with production going up and up every year.
Once the curd has been put into moulds and squeezed out of all remaining whey, the cheese is set to rest overnight before it is placed inside a brine bath – salty water – for 24 hours to help preserve the cheese longer and enhance the flavour.
After being placed in maturing storage for up to three days, nettles or garlic leaves are placed on top of the cheese to give its distinctive look and flavour.
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All nettles leaves are applied by hand in a concentric circle after being dipped in lemon juice that will act as an extra preservative.
Every year two tonnes of nettle leaves and one tonne of garlic leaves are picked and used to wrap Cornish Yarg cheeses.
The leaves are picked between May and September and are frozen so they can be used throughout the year when needed.
The leaves provide an attractive look and flavour and will help attract natural environmental moulds that will help the cheese mature.
Cornish Yarg is stored with its nettle leaves on and left to mature for 21 to 28 days. (Image: Sally Adams)
The cheese is turned every day to ensure an even distribution of mould and allow moisture to evaporate evenly.
When ready, the truckles of Yarg are then wrapped and put into a chiller prior to being dispatched nationwide and even to markets abroad.
Source: Cornwall Live