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There’s a new cheesemaker in Surrey

PUBLISHED: 09:36 18 August 2016 | UPDATED: 09:36 18 August 2016

Pamela, Francis and their Gimblett Cheese (Photo: Darren Harvey Photography)

Pamela, Francis and their Gimblett Cheese (Photo: Darren Harvey Photography)

Darren Harvey Photography

For so long Norbury Blue at Mickleham has been Surrey’s only cheesemaker, but now Haslemere’s Gimblett Cheese has joined it on the Surrey cheeseboard

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2016

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Having visited a cheese-maker in Normandy, France, back in 2013, Haslemere-based wine expert Francis Gimblett and his wife Pam returned to England wondering if it might be time to give it a go themselves.

“We were surprised to find that Surrey had only one cheese producer,” he says. “Whereas, within an area of Normandy pretty much the same size (Pay’s d’Auge), there were four cheese appellations supporting many producers, which in turn supported many hundreds of farms.”

What they originally considered might be a total six-month plan to get to market quickly morphed into: six months of training and travel, 18 months of trials and a further six months building their micro-dairy.

Gimblett Cheese was eventually born, however, and their signature product is Floyd, which is a ‘Haslemere’: a soft, washed-rind cheese from the Surrey Hills.

“It’s a style we created to take what we considered (in terms of structure and flavours) the best of what we found on our travels,” says Francis. “We think the cheese is special because of the creamy milk that comes from the low-yielding Jersey cows (from a local herd), but also due to the cultures, both introduced and environmental, that mature the cheese through shades of white, then pastel pink, and then nutty orange when mature.

“The cheese is crumbly and lemony when young, becoming creamy with age, with wild mushroom and meaty flavours. In the initial stages of maturation, we wash the cheeses in a solution of brine, and vodka made from milk whey, something we think is a first in the cheese world.”

And so it is that our county’s only other cheese-maker, the much-loved Norbury Blue at Mickleham, finally has some company on the Surrey cheeseboard.

• For more about this great new local cheese, visit their website at gimblettcheese.co.uk

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