From the makers of Lincolnshire Poacher, Lincolnshire Red is an eye-catching semi-firm cheese which is handmade using the unpasteurised milk of the farm's own herd of Holstein-Friesian cows.
Made to a Red Leicester recipe it is matured for six months. Its texture remains supple whilst its flavour is delicate and buttery with a clean, grassy finish. Its vibrant orange colour arises from the addition of the natural vegetable dye "annatto".
Unpasteurised cow's milk
What's special about Lincolnshire Red?
Brothers Simon and Tim Jones are the fourth generation to be running their family farm at Alford, Lincolnshire. They operate the farm and associated cheese-making business sustainably, seeking to minimise negative impact on the environment. This involves using renewable sources of energy including a wind turbine and solar panels. A straw pellet boiler heats the milk at the start of cheese making and a ground source pump warms the office and cutting room. Overall the farm is a net exporter of electricity. Hedgerow management and minimal use of chemicals promotes wildlife and diversity on the farm's land.
Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese began making cheese in the early 1990s. Simon Jones and head cheese-maker Richard Tagg developed the recipe for Lincolnshire Poacher, a traditional hard, pressed cheese made in large wheels of 20kg. This cheese is made using traditional "cheddaring" techniques but its finished texture is closer to that of hard Alpine cheeses than a typical English Cheddar. At twelve months each maturing wheel is tasted and graded to be enjoyed as "Poacher" at 18-22 months or "Vintage Poacher" at around 22 months. A small number of very special cheeses are matured beyond 24 months, these punchy wheels are known as "Double Barrel". Some mature cheeses are also sent out to a local smokehouse for 24 hours of cold-smoking over oak chips to produce a smoked variation.
In 2000, Simon was joined in the business by his brother Tim. Since then cheese production has expanded and now uses all 6,000 litres of milk produced each day by the farm's herd of 230 Holstein-Friesian cows. Just a small quantity of liquid milk is sold at local farmers' markets. The farm also makes whey butter. After ripening for a few days, the whey is churned, salted and hand-patted to produce a rich, flavoursome butter with a marbled appearance.
Lincolnshire Red is the most recent addition to the Poacher Cheese range. It's colour clearly distinguishes it from its sister cheeses and it is made with vegetarian rather than traditional (animal) rennet. It is made to a Red Leicester recipe with a "modern twist" and then matured for around six months. Whilst this is much shorter than even the youngest Poachers, this is extended aging for a Red Leicester. The cheese remains moist and creamy. Butter flavours are overwhelming in its taste, somewhat unexpectedly given its colour is not creamy yellow. Its clean finish is well matched by a fresh slice of apple or pear, or a handful of green grapes.
The vibrant colour of Lincolnshire Red comes from the addition of "annatto" to the milk at the start of cheese making. It is a natural vegetable dye used widely in both artisanal and industrial food production including the making of other cheeses such as Appleby's Cheshire and Sparkenhoe Red Leicester. Annatto is derived from the seeds of the achiote tree (Bixa orellana) native to tropical areas of the Americas. Annatto is found in the reddish waxy coating of the achiote seed. This coating is typically ground to a fine powder or paste for use as an orange-red colouring. It has a delicate nutmeg aroma and a slightly nutty, peppery flavour but these are only detectable in large quantities.