This week’s Cheese of the Week is Sinodun Hill, a gorgeous goat’s cheese from Norton and Yarrow Cheese in Oxfordshire. Its a personal favourite that I discovered in December 2019 on a pre Christmas day trip to London at the fantastic Neal’s Yard shop in Covent Garden. I also brought some Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire to enjoy with famous Eccles Cakes from St John Bakery round the corner. It was my first time tasting their mince pies too! I’d recommend the excursion at that time of year but if you’re there around Christmas; a side trip to see the Christmas windows of Fortnum & Mason and Liberty is definitely recommended.
What type of cheese it?
Sinodun Hill is a young, ripened goats’ cheese pyramid, similar in style to a Pouligny and other French goats’ cheeses. The goats are a gorgeous Anglo-Nubian herd. It is made with unpasteurised milk and uses a small amount of vegetarian rennet derived from cardoon thistle. The texture of the paste is light and mousse-like, almost whipped with a thin, beautifully wrinkly, golden rind (sometimes with additional blue and grey moulds as the cheese ages. The cheese is usually sold at 3-4 weeks old.
What flavours does it have?
The paste has a fresh yoghurty flavour with light citrus notes, the rind adds a certain nuttiness. The cheese as a whole has a lovely herbaceous and gently goaty finish, with a rich mouthfeel.
What would you drink with it?
This would work with wine or beer. If going for wine perhaps a good Vinho Verde with a high proportion of Alvarinho grape which has high acidity, lemony flavours and tropical aromas to complement the cheese. If you’re going for a beer, perhaps a classic Belgian Witbier with the traditional orange and coriander flavourings but I suspect the newer, hop heavy varieties would overpower the cheese.
How would you serve it?
This is an indulge yourself alone cheese for me with some good bread and either a ice cold glass of that vinho verde or witbier. If you would prefer to cook with it it would be wonderful dotted into a homemade quiche or in a luxurious omelette.
Where does the name come from?
The cheese gets its name from the Sinodun Hills which is the proper name for the Wittenham Clumps, standing just above farm where the goats graze.
Who makes it?
Since 2016, Fraser Norton and Rachel Yarrow have been making their goat’s cheeses at the Earth Trust Farm in Shillingford near Henley-on-Thames, South Oxfordshire. The farm is a project run by an environmental charity that provides tenancies for new food businesses with a focus on sustainability.
If you want more information about Norton and Yarrow’s cheeses then take a look here