WHEN thinking about cheese, one of the stand out quotes which comes to mind is from Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

This is when Brian and his mum, Mandy, are listening to the Sermon on the Mount and two of the characters near by start talking.

“What did he say? “I think it was “Blessed are the cheesemakers.” “Aha, what’s so special about the cheesemakers?

“Well, obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.”

In my case the cheesemakers I was visiting were at The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company which is ‘The only Cheddar made in Cheddar’.

The company is run and managed by the husband and wife team of John and Katherine Spencer, who have been in charge of making cheese in this part of Somerset since buying the business in 2003.

It took them three years to get the cheese making into a ship shape condition and it was six years before they started producing the high quality cheese they do today.

Katherine said: “It had always been our dream to have our own cheesemaking business and when this came up for sale we knew we had to buy it.

“We went on courses to learn how to make the best cheese and we researched the original recipe for Cheddar cheese in this area.

"When we won the Best Cheddar at the World Cheese Awards in 2008 and then again in 2013, we knew we were doing something right. We do not rush making cheese.

"When we first started it was three a day and now it is eight or nine a day. We are very passionate about what we are doing as everything is hand made.

"We are well aware of the heritage of Cheddar Cheese in Cheddar and want to build on this.

Somerset County Gazette:

"The feed back we get from people who buy and enjoy the cheese is tremendous and it pushes us to do even better.

“One of the best comments people tell us is this is how cheese used to taste. This is what they remember it tasting like when they were children. Taste can be very emotive.”

The taste Katherine is speaking about is created by the fact each large or small truckle is made by hand.

The cheesemakers receive the milk in the morning. The milk comes from a farm in Wedmore, four miles away.

Somerset County Gazette:

It is unpasteurised milk and is of the highest quality. The milk is put in a large vat and is warmed up.

Then it is allowed to settle so the curds and whey can be separated.

The scalding process separates the curds and whey and the curds are then removed and taken to another table. These are turned and cut and the remaining liquid drained away.

At this stage it starts to look like scrambled eggs.

This is the Cheddaring process which make this Cheddar cheese the one and only cheddar made in Cheddar. It is turned and cut until the texture is correct.

Somerset County Gazette:

Then it is shredded and placed into a large round mental container where it takes on the form and shape of a truckle.

It is then left over night and then squeezed to remove any further liquid and then wrapped and quenched in hot water.

The cheese is then taken to one of the rooms to mature. Vintage cheese matures for 15-18 months and mature cheese takes 10-12 months.

The company stores it in Gough’s Cave and is using the cave for something which used to be done 1,000 years ago.

Somerset County Gazette:

Katherine said: “This business is all about the people who work here. It is about the awards we have won for our cheese.

"It is the passion we have for cheese and all this pushes us forward to do better and better.”

Further details about The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company online at cheddaronline.co.uk or call 01934 742810.