The Cheese Whisperer: Barber’s 1833 Cheddar
Sometimes a single cheese defines an entire style of cheesemaking. Such is the case with Barber’s 1883 Vintage Reserve Cheddar, a mature farmhouse cheese from Britian’s longest operating cheddar family. For six generations, since 1833, the Barbers have made this cheddar on their Maryland farm in Ditcheat, Somerset.
Barber’s cheddar is made from fresh milk from the family’s herd of grass-fed cows. Traditionally the cheese is made by “cheddaring”, hand-turning the curds to give the cheese exceptional body and character. According to their website, the Barber family and a cheese grading team taste the cheddars throughout the aging process to ensure that “only the very best leaves with the 1833 stamp.”
Aged at least 24 months, this cheddar has refined notes of sweetness to balance out its tangy sharpness. Barber is perfect for enjoying with apples on cheese platters, sandwiches (especially grilled cheese ones) and adding to your favorite potato or noodle dishes. Barber’s flavor is elegant yet snappy and sure to please – try this tasty recipe from the Barber family’s archives:
1 tbsp oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 large cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1 potato, peeled and cut into chunks
700ml/25fl oz vegetable stock
400ml/14fl oz milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
100g/3½oz Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar, grated
- Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently until soft.
- Add the cauliflower, potato, stock and milk. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes until the cauliflower and potato are soft.
- Blend the soup with a hand held blender, or in a liquidizer in batches, until smooth. Return to the pan and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the mustard and cheese and serve with warmed crusty bread