In 2005, husband and wife David and Jo Clarke decided to revisit a lost art in cheesemaking-traditional Red Leicester. Leicester cheese dates back to the 1700s, but many of the traditional practices went by the wayside with the development of industrial cheesemaking systems and governmental rationing during World War II. Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, originally made by George Chapman, ceased production in 1875 when it was deemed fiscally unsound for the farm. The Clarkes, with generations of family-farming history in their lineage, have since resumed cheesemaking on the original Sparkenhoe Farm with their herd of 150 beautiful Holstien cows. Sparkenhoe Red Leicester is actually the only Leicester currently made in the traditional manner, using raw cows' milk from a farm located within Leicestershire County. And the resulting cheese, with a stunning orange interior and rich flavor profile, demonstrates both the quality and staying-power of historical recipes and practices in the cheese industry.
The brightly-hued paste is a wonderful indicator of the robust flavors within. The aroma is initially somewhat musty with hints of earth, having been lovingly wrapped in cloth for at least six months. A bright note of acidity is next to caress the palate and then is followed quickly with deeper hints of beef broth and smoke. The luxurious texture is the perfect vehicle for the rich flavors it holds, managing to be toothsome at first and then just a whisper as it slowly dissolves on your tongue.
Farm / Company: Leicestershire Handmade Cheese Company
Cheesemaker: David & Jo Clarke
City, State: Upton
Milk Type: Cow
Milk Treatment: Raw
Aging: 6 months
Size(s): 20 pound wheel