Hay on Wye is a small disc-shaped lactic cheese made from pasteurised goats milk. Modelled on the French cheese Selles-sur-Cher, Hay on Wye is produced by Neal's Yard Creamery in Herefordshire. Its bright white interior has a fine, smooth texture and fresh, creamy taste. Externally it is coated with edible ash and a sprinkling of Geotrichum mould that develops as the cheese ages.
Hay on Wye is a very young cheese matured for only a couple of weeks. Like many fresh goats cheeses it pairs beautifully with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or cider such as Aspall Imperial Vintage. Hay on Wye is perfectly complimented by charcoal crackers and a handful of walnuts for both taste and texture.
- Pasteurised goats milk
- Animal rennet
What's special about Hay on Wye?
Hay on Wye is a sister cheese of Slate favourite, Dorstone. It is the newest cheese from Charlie Westhead and his team at Neal's Yard Creamery. The Creamery, located on Dorstone Hill overlooking the River Wye, was once part of Neal's Yard Dairy but has been run independently in Herefordshire since 1996.
At the Creamery a small-scale approach is taken to making their beautiful cheeses, only 100 Hay on Wye are produced each week. The Creamery is run sustainably. Their own windmill generates much of their electricity and a customised furnace burns locally sourced wood to meet their heat requirements.
Like Dorstone, Hay on Wye is made using bought-in goats milk from neighbouring Wychmoor Farm at Titley. The milk is pasteurised, then traditional liquid starter bacteria and kid rennet are added. According to Charlie Westhead this makes the cheese "truly goat". Often goats cheese makers will use calf or vegetarian rennet to set the milk. Unlike Dorstone for which the curds are pre-drained, when making Hay on Wye the curds are hand-ladled into moulds and left to drain slowly to produce its characteristic fine, smooth texture.
Ash coating individual goats cheeses is a traditional French method used to produce mould-ripened cheeses. Sterilised charcoal is used which is virtually flavourless and safely edible. The ash adds little to the texture or taste of cheeses such as Hay on Wye, its purpose is to create the right conditions for desired mould growth and rind formation by neutralising the natural acidity of a young cheese.