Handmade Orkney Farm Cheese
Hilda Seator founded this small cheese-making business from Grimbister Farm, on Orkney mainland. Her daughter Anne now runs things, the well-regarded family farmhouse cheese making its way onto fine food wholesale lists and restaurant cheese boards throughout the UK. Grimbister Farmhouse Cheese is made from local milk, and has a firm, soft, crumbly texture. A fresh cheese, it has a delicate flavour when new, developing a lemony tang after a few days.
The recipe is that of a very simple, fresh farmhouse cheese. First, the milk is soured and renneted. About 5 years ago, the Seators did not use a starter culture but just let the milk’s natural bacteria do the souring. They have started using a starter culture since then, but only in small quantities - 1 teaspoon to 150 litres milk. Once set and cut, the curd is salted and broken up into small pieces. This used to be done by hand, but is now done with curd shovels. After that, it is moulded. At 4 days old, it is ready for sale.
This young, lactic, crumbly cheese is the sort of cheese most small farms would make: a cheese for the household to eat and not intended for maturing. Versions of this type of cheese remained most popular in the remoter areas like Scotland, the Yorkshire Dales and parts of Wales. Wensleydale, Caerphilly and Cotherstone are not all that different from Orkney in terms of taste and texture.