To celebrate British Food Fortnight starting on Saturday 23rd September Dan Bliss, manager of Paxton & Whitfield’s legendary flagship Jermyn Street store, invited us to sample the award-winning British cheese Devon Blue. Unpressed, this firmly textured cheese has a beautifully savoury flavour and a satisfying piquancy and is sublime when partnered with Paxton & Whitfield’s Quince & Apple Confit, creating a salty/sweet combination that needs nothing more than a fine glass of Sauternes.
Ticklemore Cheese, located near Totnes in Devon in the spectacular Dart Valley, produces Devon Blue using Friesian cows’ milk collected locally in the South Hams. Since they began making cheese Ticklemore has developed a close working relationship with the farmers supplying them, as they believe the quality of the milk is as important as the skill of the cheesemaker. Robin Congdon, who founded the company, was also one of the first pioneers in the 1970s to revive the tradition of milking sheep. Starting off with thirty sheep on a smallholding near Exeter, he initially produced yoghurt and soft cheeses which he took to London once a week to sell.
Within a few years he was introduced to Maurice Ash who was connected with the Dartington Hall Estate and the two went into partnership on a larger farm alongside the river Dart, where they are based today. Here Robin developed Beenleigh Blue, named after the hamlet in which it was first made, and later Harbourne Blue, named after the tributary of the Dart which flows through Beenleigh. Several years later he created Devon Blue using the cows’ milk of a neighbouring farmer.
Inspired by the cave-aged conditions used in the production of the classic French cheese Roquefort, Robin specially designed and built a maturing cellar for Devon Blue, and the result is much subtler in flavour than Roquefort, with less prominent veining and a slightly tangy finish. The creamy texture that is the heart of Devon Blue is testament to Ticklemore’s dedicated ingredient sourcing.
For more information on Paxton & Whitfield cheese please visit their website or pop along to one of their stores to sample Devon Blue for yourself:
93 Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6JE Tel: 020 7930 0259
22 Cale Street London SW3 3QU Tel: 020 7584 0751
1 John Street, Bath BA1 2JL Tel: 01225 466 403
13 Wood Street, Stratford upon Avon CV37 6JF Tel: 01789 415 544