Last year we heard of a new business making cheese in Marlow, called… wait for it: “Marlow Cheese”!
Loving cheese, and loving Marlow this was clearly something of great interest to us. It is still early days for this small business – but the reception and success so far has been quite astonishing. We recently met with Lynda Hill, the cheesemaker, and her husband James who helps out with other aspects of the business.
I was surprised to learn that the whole set-up is based from their home. They have built a very professional “cheese room”, but nonetheless it is in effect a converted garage!
How it started
Lynda’s previous jobs had been in retail and offices, but having long had a desire to learn cheesemaking she finally decided to bite the bullet, and make a business of it. Lynda booked onto courses at The School of Artisan Food – which she highly recommends, and then got straight into it. In the summer of 2016 “Marlow Cheese” had everything in place and the first cheeses were on sale in local markets by August.
Lynda is passionate about using traditional methods and local provenance – the milk used comes from the herd of Guernsey cows up at Lacey’s Farm at Lane End. Keeping it “simple” is another aim – their first cheese, called “Cygnet”, is made from just milk, starter culture and vegetarian rennet.
What’s on the menu?
As far as they are aware, there has not been a commercial cheesemaker in Buckinghamshire for 97 years, so having just one local cheese is quite something already. However Lynda has plans for 3 different cheeses:
- Cygnet – this is the currently available version, a “lactic” soft cheese as shown in our photo. It is sold from 2 weeks old, tasting young and fresh but matures from 4-10 weeks into something creamy and stronger.
- Bucks Blue – a soft blue cheese currently in development, and being taste tested.
- Regatta – a semi hard alpine style cheese – planned for the future
We have tried both the Cygnet and the Bucks Blue, and if you hadn’t guessed it already we thought both were fantastic!
Reaction so far
The couple have been delighted, if not staggered by the positive reactions received – whether from the public commenting on social media, or chefs asking to use it in their restaurants. I guess if you go from starting from scratch to having your produce on the table in a 2 Michelin starred restaurant within the space of 2 years – that’s quite something!
Where can we buy it?
Local high quality restaurants were quick to pick up on Cygnet as a great cheese for their cheeseboard, or as a base for recipes. It is currently being supplied to establishments including:
- The Royal Oak – the first restaurant to take them on
- The Hand and Flowers
- Shaun Dickens at The Boathouse (Henley)
- Artichoke (Amersham)
- .. and more in the pipeline, including very highly regarded London establishments
At present there are a few locations which stock Cygnet
- Rebellion Brewery shop
- Laceys Farm Shop in Lane End (the same farm the milk is from)
- The Old Buthcers Wine Cellar in Cookham
- Local markets , check their home page for upcoming ones.
Keeping up to date
Marlow’s very own artisan cheesemaker can be contact and followed here: