The Ford Farm, located in the beautiful Dorset area on the English Channel on the Southern Coast of England, makes farmstead cheese, many of which have the EU PDO recognition for quality and consistency.
The Lady was wandering through Costco before Christmas looking for just the perfect gift for her Secret Santa and as she is prone to do, where there is cheese, you can find her snooping around looking for new cheeses that are not carried at her kiosk… She is constantly checking to compare prices, packaging, etc. with the cheeses she does sell. One of her mantras when she returns home from Costco is, “Thank goodness most folks are NOT members of Costco!!”
After this particular visit she returned with a block of white cheddar named simply “Coastal”.
It is a mature English Cheddar with those calcium crystals that she and The Man love to find in aged cheeses (and also found in many aged goudas). Let me take a moment to explain what those little crunchy tidbits of flavor are and why they exist:
Calcium Lactate Crystals appear naturally in some cheeses. More particularly they appear on hard cheeses that have been matured for a long period for flavour development, eg Vintage Cheddar.
A brief description of the process of crystal formation is as follows:
Calcium (a mineral) and lactose (a sugar) occur naturally in cow’s milk. Therefore cheese made from cow’s milk also contain these components. Starter bacteria (which are deliberately added to the milk in the cheese vat) ferment the lactose into lactic acid. Calcium and lactic acid associate themselves to form the calcium salt, Calcium Lactate. During ageing cheddar cheese loses water as part of the natural cheese-ripening process. This “expulsion” effect causes the calcium lactate to become more concentrated, until it is supersaturated, and loses solubility. At this stage the crystals can form. This explains why the crystals are more likely to appear in full flavoured ‘Vintage’ cheddar than the less developed ‘Medium’ cheddar.
So now you know…
The Lady put together a cheese plate for the three of us last night (think – too lazy to cook…) using Coastal Cheddar from the Ford Farm and other cheeses I have previously reviewed: Emmenthal, Beemster XO and Sartori Pepper. She served Beecher’s Original Crackers and just-out-of-the-oven a fresh hot French Baguette.
It was a “to die for” peasant dinner at the new manse.
As the description on the label states, Coastal is a mature, rugged cheddar and The Lady, The Man and I agreed it is one of our favorite English cheddars… many other English cheddars leave us wondering, “What’s the big deal?”
But not Ford Farm Coastal Cheddar.
It is aged up to fifteen months and has lots of crystals that contribute to its approval by this feline foodie. The flavor is slightly sweet and very nutty…everything I look for in my cheddars.
The Lady can bring home more from The Ford Farm and I suspect I will be one happy cheesehead…
I give Ford Farm Coastal Cheddar 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got.)
Serving Suggestions: Obviously this cheese works well on a cheese plate as that is how The Lady introduced The Man and me to this cheese. I am hoping the next use will be to add it to a mac n cheese creation. I also think Coastal would pair well with apples, pears and grapes. The Man put a little dollop of Ficoco Spread on his and pronounced it a successful pairing.
Beer Pairings: I chose a stein of Wisconsin’s Lakefront Brewery’s Cream City Pale Ale (just kidding, The Lady won’t let me near alcohol. She claims I am something called a “sloppy drunk”…sheesh humankinds… too many rules and regulations for this free-spirited, rebel feline.)
Source: Cow’s Milk from cows that live happily on The Ford Farm.