Graham Kirkham is the only person on this earth making truly traditional farmhouse Lancashire cheese. He's one of a kind – in more ways than one. (Ask me about what he does with his "naughty" cheeses that don't age well.)
“Graham makes cheese like an artistic chef cooks,” beams Randolph Hodgson, owner of Neal’s Yard Dairy in London, the British cheesemonger that selects all our Lancashire. Traditional Lancashire has a distinguishing feature, one that Graham is diligent about retaining. It's made from three different days' curd, not one. Graham selects among the three different days and mixes them by feel. He chops the curd, stuffs it by hand into a cloth-wrapped mold, presses them in one of his 19th Century hand presses, then butters the outside of the cloth before aging.
The Lancashire that Neal's Yard Dairy selects for us is classically “floofy.” That’s one of those terms that’s tough to understand until you eat a piece. It kind of describes the taste and texture in the same word. It's remarkably appropriate. I find it hard to separate the flavor from the mouthfeel myself. It's crumbly and creamy, mellow and tangy all at the same time, with hints of lemon and yogurt. When the flavor is really big, Graham calls that particular cheese a "Floofy monstah" (fluffy monster), which means it's as soft as a pillow in your mouth, bursting with flavor.
Our current wheels have been aging since December 2015, and they have that perfectly fluffy texture we love in Lancashire paired with a meaty, savory flavor that reminds me a bit of dry-cured salami.