It’s International Women’s Day. We’re a cheesemongers. It’d be rude, no, ridiculous not to mention First Lady of Cheese, Mary Quicke and one of her many award-winning cloth bound cheddars to newly grace our counter: Lady Prue. Named after Quicke’s artist trained mother, Lady Prue embodies the innovative spirit her namesake instilled into the farm. By blending goats and cows milk and maturing for 6 months this cloth bound cheddar is a rare gem, its pale exterior revealing delicate caramel notes that develop a peppery finish as the cheese matures.
Quicke’s mother’s creative influence isn’t just evident in Lady Prue. Part of Mary Quicke’s success can be credited to her pioneering approach to dairy farming. After inheriting over 1,500 acres of Devonshire farmland that had been in the family for 14 generations, Quicke, was well, quick to put her own stamp on the cheese making revival her father Sir John Quicke began at Home Farm in the 70s. For Quicke, the “cows are queen” and so every care is taken to shift her 600 “ladies” from pasture to pasture every 12 hours all year round. Why the fuss? Well Quicke wants the midas touch of cows breath quality grass whose warm vegetable green aromas are said to produce smooth rich raw milk that gives her cheddars the winning edge.
And that approach has reaped rewards for Quicke too. Not only has she received an MBE for her dedication to cheesemaking and farming, but she has also been awarded Exceptional Contribution to Cheese at the World Cheese Awards 2015,The Environment Award at the WIFTS International Visionary Awards 2015 and Devon Farm Business Awards Lifetime Achievement Award 2014, to name but a few. If that wasn’t enough, Quicke also keeps busy as a board member for the FSA (Food Standards Agency), the ADHB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) and the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers. Quicke is also one of the founding members of the Academy of Cheese, the first level of which, we host right here at our Jermyn Street branch of Paxton and Whitfield. Oh, and she surfs too.
So next time you’re in the shop and see Lady Prue come give it a try to taste what Quicke’s ladies, land and legacy bring to the table.
Lady Prue is also featured in March’s cheese society membership subscription box. If you would like to receive the finest cheese on a monthly, bi monthly or quarterly basis, click here.