Rollin’ Rollin’ ROLLRIGHT!
We can’t help it, whenever we get a new batch of David Jowett’s Rollright we break into song, and it’s usually a twist of “Rawhide;” Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ ROLLRIGHT!
We first met Rollright on the phone, while having our weekly talk with Neal’s Yard Dairy in London; we’d asked if there was anything new or something that was particularly exciting that week. The answer, had we’d been told about Rollright yet? well no, but it sounded like fun. (The singing would come later)
David has a mixed cheese background, he’s worked with cheesemakers, with affineurs, and as a cheesemonger; and that well rounded background means that he hit a cheesy homerun with the first cheese he started making.
Rollright is made with the milk from thirty cows from King Stone Farm, in Oxfordshire, and those cows seem to have a pretty awesome life. When it’s not too cold or too wet they graze out on pasture where slow growing grasses, trefoils, vetches, orchids and red and white clover grow in abundance. When they have to stay inside they munch on silage made from grass, clover, lucerne, whole crop wheat, rolled beans from a neighbouring farm, barley, and brewers’ grains. This unique and diverse feed system means the milk is higher in not just protein and butterfat but flavor as well; and because the farm has robot milking machines the cows can go into the barn and get milked when they want.
The milk is delivered to the dairy every morning, where after careful acidification, renneting, cutting, stirring, the soupy curds are scooped into forms and salted before being left to drain overnight. The fact that the whey is not fully drained from the curds before being scooped ensures a soft, moist, smooshy texture in the finished Rollright. The next morning the baby Rollrights are given a spruce girdle to help them maintain their shape as they age, and they spend then next couple of days chillaxing. Once they’re 4-6 days old, and the wheels have the beginnings of a rind forming, the wheels are gently washed with a brine solution; this creates a surface that a delicious non-harmful bacteria called brevibacterium linens love to live on. The b.linens slowly help form a rind that is slightly tacky (party due to regular washings) and smelly, though occasionally a light bloom will form on the wheel, which David assures me is exactly what he’s looking for.
You might have tried Epoisses, drooled over a Winnimere, cringed when facing Limberger, or smuggled a Vacherin Mont d’Or; those are all kissing cousins to Rollright.
Rollright is one of those cheeses that you sit up and notice, it’s one of those cheese that are slowly becoming known in the States but is still a cheese-lover’s secret. If there was a cheese equivalent to a speakeasy it’d be spruce bound cheeses; you want to tell everyone about them but at the same time you want to keep this delicious secret to yourself.
Dense and lush in texture, it coats your palate and takes over your whole body and soul; rich like a egg yolk custard that is so sinfully good you get shivers. Faint traces of button mushrooms, sauteed in butter, and fried smoked ham that sets your brain to twitching and your mouth watering. The first time we ever got Rollright we took a quarter wheel home and on our next day off we sat on our back “patio” and slowly worked our way through a bottle of Burgundy and that quarter wheel. A experience that we highly encourage.
Milk: Pasteurized cow
Rennet: Traditional Animal
Learn more at www.rollrightcheese.com
And as to the singing, it’s simply a cheese that has a name that begs to be sung; it’s kind of like one having to make lightsaber sounds whenever you wield anything sword like.