The Country Fair at the National Museum of Rural Life is a great opportunity to sample local delicacies. Among the artisan products to try is a range of cheeses from Ayrshire dairy Barwheys. Here Dairy owner Tricia Bey explains what makes their cheeses so delicious.
Barwheys cheese is a traditional farmhouse cheese made by Tricia Bey in her dairy in South Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland. I designed and built the dairy and made my first cheese there in 2010.
The warm wet west coast weather produces lush green pastures which are enjoyed by our small herd of pedigree Ayrshire cows – the same breed kept at the National Museum of Rural Life. Ayrshires produce the ideal milk for cheese making – rich and creamy and full of flavour. During the warmer months the cattle graze on the green pastures surrounding the dairy giving the winter cheeses a bright primrose yellow colour. The milk is not pasteurised so the flavours of the milk are retained in the mature cheese.
Barwheys is a rich, hard cheese with a long and complex flavour. The cheese hits your tongue with a slightly tart first note, before the taste gives way to subtle hints of nut and caramel. The cheese has a creamy texture with just the merest hint of crumble.
The exceptional taste of Barwheys is achieved by a time-honoured production process. The cheese is carefully made by hand and once the truckles are pressed they are wrapped in traditional cotton cheesecloth. They are then nursed carefully as they age on wooden shelves for between 12 and 14 months.11
The appearance and flavour of the cheese varies from winter to summer. Cheeses made from summer milk are creamy and yellow with nutty undertones, winter cheeses tend to be sweeter and paler.
Barwheys Dairy is a short drive from the famous W M Grants distillery. Barrels that have held the maturing whisky for up to 10 years are recycled for various uses. Shavings from the barrels are used at Barwheys to smoke prime, mature cheese. The cheese is smoked for three hours and the resulting cheese is a golden colour with a wonderful taste of woodsmoke on top of the complex cheese.
Smoked Barwheys is a delicious accompaniment to a dram of whisky. Slainte!
Join us animal antics, country crafts and fabulous food at the Country Fair, National Museum of Rural Life this Sunday 6 September 2015. Find out what’s on and book your tickets here.