Photograph of Berkswell
Map of Great Britain showing the location of Berkswell

A firm, ivory coloured paste and a fabulous flavour.

Made using ewes' milk Made using unpasteurised milk Suitable for vegetarians

The village of Berkswell was named after the Saxon chief, Bercul. He was baptised in the ancient well at the centre of the village, and the village became known as 'Berculs Well'. Over the last thousand years, the name has evolved into 'Berkswell'. The eponymously named cheese is made by a small family run business in the village.

Ram Hall is a sixteenth century farmhouse with very little changed from the original. Steven Fletcher started as a dairy farmer, keeping cattle for milk sales only. In the early 1980s the cattle were slowly replaced with sheep, and it was only through a quirk of fate that his cheesemaking career took off. A local shop which used to sell goat's cheese lost their supplier and asked Stephen if he could make ewe's milk cheese. Never one to shirk a challenge, Stephen set about the task of making a new ewe's milk cheese from scratch. Originally made using a recipe for Caerphilly, Berkswell soon developed a character of its own, more akin to Manchego than the Welsh cheese.

Stephen now has the help of his wife Tessa and the cheese is made 2-3 times a week from the milk of their flock of 350 Frieslands. Berkswell is a hard full fat (45%) unpasteurised sheep's milk cheese made with vegetarian rennet. It is matured for up to eight months and weighs 3-4 kg, measuring 20cm in diameter by 8cm high. Once matured, the rind becomes heavily textured and pitted.

This cheese goes well on the cheeseboard as well as being an excellent cooking cheese, with a more delicate flavour and smooth texture than say a Pecorino. It grates well and is wonderful in potato dishes. It is also a good alternative to cheddar for those suffering from cow's milk allergies.

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