Mass manufacturing means that most cheeses are available year-round from cows, goats and sheep which are kept indoors and fed on silage and hay. This affects the flavour, texture and nuances which we believe make artisan cheese so enjoyable.
It’s easy to forget that cheese is a product of our rich and beauteous land, and that it’s a seasonal product, just like fruits and vegetables.
When thinking of cheese for the seasons, you simply need to make the link between what the cows, goats and sheep are eating when the cheese is made. Their food affects their milk which, in turn, affects the flavour and texture of their cheese.
Cheese made with cow's milk
Though cows are milked year-round, cheese made with cow’s milk can vary in flavour depending upon the quality of the pasture they’re feeding on. So, cheese made when grass is newly grown will be more complex and lively than a cheese made when the grass is parched and brown at the end of summer.
Cheese made with sheep and goat’s milk
Generally speaking, cheese made from the milk of goat or sheep will taste better between March and October when the animals are lactating and their milk is fresh. Increasingly, artisan cheese makers are staggering the breeding season of their animals. This ensures fresh milk supply throughout the year to avoid the use of frozen or powdered milk which is commonly used in the mass production of cheese.
Aged cheese and the seasons
If you like aged cheese, the seasons are still relevant. Cheese made ‘in-season’ and then matured will be better than cheese made out of season.
A guide to the cheese seasons
Eating seasonal cheese encourages you to try something new, and to discover what it is that makes a seasonal artisan cheese so unmatched by its mass produced, out of season counterpart. As you’ll see in the table below, there’s a wealth of cheese to enjoy in different seasons.
Cerney, Sainte Maure, Valencay, Selles Sur Cher, Beaufort, Mimolette, Morbier, Parmigiano Reggiano, Brie de Meaux, Brie de Melun, Mature (12 Month+) artisan Cheddar (Montgomery, Westcombe, Keens), Maroilles
Saint Nectaire, Roquefort, Beaufort d’Ete, Beenleigh Blue, Wigmore, Crottin de Chavignol, Camembert de Normandie, Bleu de Causses, Bleu de Gex, Coulommiers Mature (12 Month+) artisan Cheddar (Montgomery, Westcombe, Keens), Maroilles, Flower Marie
Saint Nectaire, Roquefort, Brie de Melun, Beaufort d’Alpage, Beenleigh Blue, Chabichou du Poitou, Cantal, Brillat Savarin, Fourme D’Ambert, Abondance, Chaource, Flower Marie, Wigmore
Mont d’Or, Stilton, Extra Mature (18 Month+) artisan Cheddars (Montgomery, Westcombe, Keens), Chevrotin des Aravis, Comte, Epoisses, Gruyere
Find out more
If you would like to find out more about our seasonal cheese collections, or would like to try the best cheese of the current season, please visit your nearest Paxton & Whitfield store or get in touch to talk to one of our specialist cheesemongers.