Cheese of the Week – Kit Calvert Wensleydale

What type of cheese it?

An old-Style Wensleydale cheese, named in celebration and honour of Kit Calvert MBE, the legendary Yorkshire businessman, who helped save the Wensleydale Creamery from closure in the 1930s. This is another British territorial cheese. It is handcrafted, bound in muslin and matured for around 16 weeks resulting in a buttery, creamy texture . This is pasteurised cow’s milk cheese using milk from local farms and the Creamery’s very own unique cheese-making starter culture.  A lot less cheese-making starter culture is used to make the cheese than modern Wensleydale, which slows the process right down.  It is now made with vegetarian rennet having previously been made with animal rennet.

What flavours does it have?

Like a lot of natural rind cheeses, the flavours of the cheese near the rind differ from those in the centre of the middle of the cheese. There are earthy notes close to the rind taking you through to the centre which has a creamy texture and lemony/citrussy back flavours.

What would you drink with it?

This is an interesting cheese which can pair with quite a lot of flavours. I like it with Rioja which brings out its rich sweet flavours. However, its equally great with a minerally sauvignon blanc which complements those lemony back notes.

How would you serve it?

This is great on a cheeseboard but I recommend an oat cracker rather than a wheat one if you can manage it. I really like in/on a Waldorf salad, its goes wonderfully with the crisp acidity of the apples, the sweetness of the raisins and the nuttiness of the walnut and savouriness of the celery.

Where does the name come from?

Wensleydale is one of the great British territorial cheeses and its history is rich with periods of rise and decline. It takes its name from the area in the Yorkshire Dales that it is made. Cheese has been made there since at least 1150 when French Cistercian monks settled in the area, bringing their cheese making recipe with them. It is one of the few territorial cheeses that survived through the second world war.

Who makes it?

Wensleydale Creamery, in Hawes Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, England. They source their milk from small local farms and provides work to over two hundred residents in the surrounding area. The cheese now has a “protected Geographical Indication; PGI.

Featured Image – Wensleydale – Mike Geno