As June's Cheese of the Month, Ben Hildreth, manager of Paxton & Whitfield's Stratford-upon-Avon shop has selected Single Gloucester PDO (unpasteurised cows' milk, vegetarian rennet) to enjoy.

Made by Jonathan Crump in Gloucestershire, this cheese is special in the fact that it is made purely with the milk of Gloucester cattle, one of the rarest breeds of cattle in the country, The cows were developed in Gloucestershire hundreds of years ago purely for dairying and cheese making because the milk has particularly small globules of fat and a high protein content. Single and Double Gloucester are historic cheeses, having been known outside the county as far back as the 8th century and widely acknowledged in Tudor times. However, like many other traditional British cheeses, their recipes and production were nearly lost after the ravages of the Second World War. Farmhouse production gave way to anonymous factory production which changed the quality to cheeses scarcely distinguishable from poor Cheddar.

Single Gloucester carries PDO status (Protected Designation of Origin) that it has held since 1997.  This means that a cheese can only be sold as Single Gloucester if it is made in Gloucestershire on a farm that has a pedigree herd of Old Gloucester cattle.  The cheese is made at a lower temperature than Double Gloucester and the curd is cut into smaller squares.  This gives the Single Gloucester a more open and less crumbly texture, making it good for toasting.  Single Gloucester is a delicate cheese with a clean and fresh flavour.  It is a good cheese to use in summer salads.

Ben says: “I love Single Gloucester’s wonderful flavour. I like to pair it with some of our Multi Seed & Pepper Cracker Bakes  and a jar of our Pear & Vanilla Confit . To complement these flavours I’ll add a glass of locally made perry. A great combination for a simple summer’s lunch or supper – if you add in a freshly made salad.”