Saturday, April 05, 2014

On Location: Ticklemore at Sharpham Dairy in Devon

Sharpham Dairy Owner Mark Sharman with a wheel of
Ticklemore, made just that morning.
If you've had the opportunity in the United States to taste Ticklemore, a pasteurized goat's milk cheese made at Sharpham Dairy in Devon, England, you are likely familiar with a creamy, white rinded cheese shaped liked a flying saucer that is often oozy around the rind and packs a flavor punch.

Turns out, that cheese doesn't exist in England. In its home country, Ticklemore seems much younger, is a firm and crumbly cheese, with gentle, floral notes.

"I've eaten it in the United States, and I've got to say, I've tried to re-enact getting it to the point where you all eat it over there, and I can't do it," Sharpham Dairy owner Mark Sharman told us during a visit this week. "There's got to be something about the environment and time it takes to get to you that turns it into a different cheese. I've brought some back here for my staff to taste, and we all agree it's fantastic. In fact, you might be getting the better end of Ticklemore."

Available in the U.S. through Neal's Yard Dairy, Ticklemore has been made by Debbie Mumford at Sharpham Dairy for the past 11 years. Before that, it was made by Robin Congdon at Tickelemore Dairy, not far from Sharpham. When Robin ran out of room to make both Ticklemore and the three blue cheeses he was also making, Debbie completely took over the production of Ticklemore, and now it's called Sharpham Ticklemore. The Sharmans still buy goat's milk from the same farm Robin used to, with the goats grazing on the edges of Dartmoor, an area of moorland in south Devon, England.

Baby Ticklemore cheese in the Ticklemore nursery at Sharpham Dairy.
While Ticklemore may perhaps be the best known cheese from Sharpham Dairy in the United States, you may also have tasted Sharpham Rustic, a semi-hard raw milk cheese made from a herd of 60 Jersey cows owned by the Sharmans that graze on pastures overlooking the River Dart. It has a funky rind that is often multi-colored with many a rainbow of yeast molds, but Mark says they "get away with it" because the cheese is called "rustic." Sharpham Dairy also makes a variety of other cheeses, including Sharpham Square, which will be served on the cheese board this year at Wimbledon. They also just unveiled a new cheese, Cremet, a soft goat's milk cheese with added cow's cream. Yummy.

Mark was kind enough to serve us a variety of his cheeses, paired with Sharpham Wines. Oh, did I mention, he also owns and operates his very own English winery, making a variety of white, red and sparkling wines? Who knew the English made wine? In case you don't believe me, here's a map of all the English vineyards that hangs in the Sharpham Vineyard tasting room.
Hey, thanks global warming for allowing grape vines to grow in England!
I particularly enjoyed the Sharpham Summer Red, which goes really nicely with some of the washed rind cheeses they're making. Not readily available in the United States, they have a very nice e-commerce store on their website.

Thanks so much to Mark and the crew for giving us a personal tour of his dairy and vineyard. It's a treat visiting such genuinely nice people who make stellar cheese and wine. Carry on!

No comments: