Provenance and the way Barber’s continue to make 1833 West Country Farmhouse Cheddar
At Barber’s we are extremely proud of our provenance and firmly believe in the artisan roots of our Cheddars. Based in the Village of Ditcheat, Somerset Barber’s Farmhouse Cheesemakers are the oldest surviving Cheddar making business in the UK and the oldest in the world. Now with the sixth generation of the family at the helm the Barber family continue to evolve the business and the fine cheddars they make still on the family farm. When it comes to making Cheddar the most important ingredient in determining the final taste and character of the cheese is the starter culture, and the Barber’s is the last business in the UK producing cheese from its own collection of original mother cultures.
Barber’s starter cultures go back generations and in their original form, they began as whey shared from cheese-maker to cheese-maker in the locality. There used to be a system whereby all the local cheese-makers would help each other out by sharing cultures but then in the mid-1900s it became commercially more organised and a business was set up to distribute the starter cultures locally.
This stopped in the 1980s because the business wanted to just sell freeze-dried powders, whereas ours were traditional liquid cultures. We agreed to take on the original cultures on our site, so we now house the original set of mother cultures that most cheese-makers in the area were using generations ago. In keeping with the tradition, we share these with the artisan Cheddar makers in the region. Most starter cultures come from Europe, America or even Australasia and these are the last traditional Cheddar starter cultures in the UK, so we're happy to be keeping the tradition alive in the home of Cheddar.
We're proud to have PDO accreditation, which makes the official title of the cheese we produce West Country Farmhouse Cheddar. It's effectively the only accreditation of traditional Cheddar, and there are now only six cheese-makers who produce to the traditional methodology, on the farm in the original Cheddar region. The PDO governs where the milk comes from, that it's made on a farm and that it's made by traditional methods. All of our Cheddar is made to the PDO specification but it must be aged for a minimum of nine months and independently quality graded to carry the mark.
Our flagship cheese is matured much further - for at least two years. This is branded Barber’s 1833 and since its launch 8 years ago has become our bestselling Cheddar. 1833 has a complexity unique to our cultures with an exceptional depth of flavour making it perfect on a cheeseboard or as a fine ingredient.
1833 Cheddar the perfect ingredient.
Over the years we have enjoyed supporting and sponsoring the Universal Cookery Festival. For us it has been a valuable platform to promote our Cheddar and in particular our flagship 1833. We work internationally with food bloggers to further our reach as the best ways to use 1833 as an ingredient from fine dining to a simple supper. The UCFF has worked well for us as a producer to engage with chefs and business owners on a more personal level.
Our 1833 is always matured for a minimum of 24 months to provide cheddar that is powerfully intense and complex with an exceptional depth of flavour. It has a slightly brittle crunchy texture that results from its long and slow ageing. It is this profile that lends itself to complimenting the complexity of the fine dishes produced in restaurant’s and homes.
The UCFF is also a fantastic event to catch up with our loyal brand ambassadors who continue to introduce and talk positively about the provenance and quality of our 1833 to their customers.
Beth Brewster, Executive Vice President of Business Development & Lounges for
Manchester Airports Group, said: “We’re delighted to launch our flagship 1903 lounge in Terminal 3. The final product looks superb and offers passengers a real slice of luxury before their flight. Offering fantastic views of the airfield, the lounge also has its own chefs. Designed exclusively for 1903 and all freshly cooked, the all-inclusive hot and cold food menu is carefully prepared using the best ingredients. With treats such as the 1833 vintage reserve cheddar from the world’s oldest makers Barbers, and real dairy ice cream from Cheshire Farm.”
The UCFF has enable us as producer to engage with like-minded businesses and see our flagship product propagate out through this engagement.