How to become a big cheese

25/01/2019 11:58

Written by Neil and Helen Matthews

Lynda Hill has no doubt about the two proudest moments of her new career since she set up the Marlow Cheese Company in late 2016. ‘One was being given a silver award at the very first show I entered, when I had only been making my cheese for around six months, by the Specialist Cheesemakers Association. The other was seeing my little cheese on the menu at Tom Kerridge’s Hand and Flowers restaurant in my home town of Marlow.’ Both were dramatic vindications of her decision to turn away from ‘a lifetime of mundane office and retail jobs’ and try her hand as an artisan cheesemaker. After the conversion of the family’s garage into a micro dairy by Lynda’s husband James, and the installation of a 300-litre cheese vat from Germany (‘my version of a Porsche!’), Lynda was ready for the challenge.

The milk comes from Guernsey cows on Lacey Farm in Lane End, just 4 miles away; the farm has been breeding Guernseys for seven generations. The milk which the Guernsey cows produce contains three times as much omega 3 as other milks, plus beta-carotene, which is a source of vitamin A. The Marlow Cheese Company uses it to produce ‘Cygnet’, a soft cheese with a natural white rind, and a blue cheese variation named ‘Bucks Blue’. You can buy them at local farmers’ markets, food festivals and delicatessens. With help from James (with social media, event bookings and running market stalls) and daughter Chloe (who ‘loves to eat the cheese but shows no interest in making it’), Lynda is hoping to expand by moving to larger premises. ‘I would love to make a hard cheese and possibly a sheep’s cheese, with the correct storage facilities for ripening. Once I’ve found the right premises, I can produce a range of native Chilterns cheeses.’

Want to find out more about local producers in the Chilterns and the Thames Valley? Check out our comprehensive guide:

Slow Travel Chilterns & the Thames Valley

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