Did you know that cheese is seasonal?
When you think of flavour and cheese, what comes to mind? A distinctive, tangy brie or creamy, milk Stilton?
Well, it’s not just about the type of cheese your buying. Nuances in flavour are directly impacted by the environment. You may already consider yourself a cheese aficionado – but, there’s a whole new level of appreciation of dairy to discover when you consider natural environment and seasonality.
So how, exactly, is cheese seasonal?
It’s all about plant life, of course! Just as late summer apples and spring asparagus have their seasons, the diet cows eat is determined by the seasons. During winter, cattle are sheltered from harsh, biting weather, eating a diet rich in hay, silage and grain. As a result, winter cheese is often the creamiest and tangiest cheese you’ll find. As calving season comes in, milk is richer and higher in fat and protein.
As the weather mellows, a diet rich in green leaves makes for a mild, light and softly-flavoured cheese. An abundance of wildflowers over the summer, and greater variety of plant-life imbues cheese with complexity of flavour and floral notes. Late season dairy returns to a grassier flavour, as flowers die off and greens become a staple once again.
So, for local, artisan cheeses that have escaped the fate of homogenisation for large markets, the seasons provide one of the most intriguing determiners of flavour. From Sussex summer meadows filled with wildflowers to cold winter nights and piles of locally harvested hay – Sussex cheese really is unique!
Eating seasonal cheese:
If you want to taste the seasonal pleasures of cheese – turn away from the supermarket. With commercial cheeses made to taste homogeneous and consistent in flavour, small, artisan and local producers will open up new worlds of flavour to even the most expeirenced cheese lovers.
The advice from one cheese connoisseur? Enjoy fresh cheeses from the months March to October, and aged cheeses (approx. 6 months) between October and March to make the most of the beautiful summer notes. Of course, all cheese varieties are different. So get to know you’re favourite varieties and how they are made – and observe the seasons to discover worlds of flavour!
Explore our incredible range of Sussex, small-batch cheeses and tell us: What’s your favourite season?