Taste of the Vine

Wine tasting, Cheese, Gin, Real Ale & Whisky Events   •   22 years, 3570 events, 49 countries

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This is an excerpt from Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheese, due to be published late 2019.

When in 2003 Stacey Hedges set out to find a cheese that would fill a gap in the UK market, little did she think she would create one hailed by some experts as the world's best example of its type.

Herd size 200 Animal Cow
Creamery Breed Holstein Friesian
Single herd Traditional method

The secret to her success was a thoroughness of approach fueled by passion. The motivation for Stacey had been kindled working in a cheese shop in her native Sydney, but it wasn’t until her move to the UK and meeting a dairy farmer at the gates of her children's school, that the passion took flame. She began to make cheese at home. Throughout the trial process, she consulted Randlolf Hodgson of wholesaler Neal’s Yard; an approach that helped her understand production as well as the marketplace, the latter an essential ingredient for a successful recipe. She was emphatically told the main criterion was that ‘it had to be as good as the best’. In 2005 family encouragement to make it professional necessitated a move. The following year, Tunworth, named after a local hamlet, won Supreme Champion at the British Cheese awards. Calls from retailers followed and demand could have easily pressured Hampshire Cheeses to scale up immediately, but consistency was the priority and a plan of slow growth ensued. Charlotte Spruce Joined Stacey as cheesemaker in 2006 and in 2010 Hampshire Cheeses moved to its current premises where they now make up to 800 Tunworths a day. Charlotte has added her own creation to the range, Winslade, a spruce-wrapped cross between Camembert and Vacherin. They are faithful to the original advice, that it must be as good as the best. In sourcing high-grade milk from a single herd, sticking to a slow acidification make (a pain for commercial producers) and hand ladling, they have ensured that, despite growth, Tunworth remains true to its origins and is a yardstick by which PDO Camembert should be judged.

Winslade

This cross between a Camembert and Vacherin has fresh mushroom and white game aromas on the nose that darken on the palate with sweet notes of undergrowth, chanterelle and hints of juniper closer the the spruce banding.

Sparkling, aromatic whites, light reds, cider and hoppy ale.

Via website or wholesalers and cheesemongers countrywide. See web for details.

Weight 250g
Shape Small Disk
Age at release 4 weeks
Single herd
Rennet Animal
Animal Cow
Style Soft Bloomy

Tunworth

A Camembert style true to type with wild mushroom and game notes on the nose and fermented cabbage and mushroom broth flavours from the creamy core.

Sparkling, aromatic whites, light reds, hoppy ale and cider.

Via website or wholesalers and cheesemongers countrywide. See web for details.

Weight 250g
Shape Small Disk
Age at release 4 weeks
Single herd
Rennet Animal
Animal Cow
Style Soft Bloomy