Provender Brown Perth Deli

Scottish Artisan Cheese Makers

From traditional caboc to creamy bries, crumbly farmhouse cheddars to pungent blues, our range of Scottish cheeses offers something to suit all tastes

From the experts in cheese, at Provender Brown

When it comes to cheese it’s easy to reach for French, Italian or Swiss as the global gold standard. Indeed, in 1962, French President Charles de Gaulle asked, "How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?" And today that number is estimated at between 1,000 and 1,600 distinct types of French cheese.

However, as a team with over 30 years of collective expereince in all things cheese - cheesemongers, cheese lovers and cheese sellers - we're here to argue the case for the excellence of something a little closer to home - Scottish cheese. Admittedly, we may not boast 1600 varieties but as is the case with most food worth enjoying, quality over quantity wins the day for us.

Scottish cheese has always differed from that of England and Wales; because the Romans didn’t invade as far north as Scotland their European cheese-making techniques were never absorbed into our traditional recipes.

As a result, Scottish cheeses remained Celtic in origin for centuries with variations of Caboc and Crowdie leading the charge. It wasn’t until the time of industrialisation and increased movement of goods and people that Scotland’s cheesemaking became more ambitious and varieties such as Dunlop, similar in technique to English Cheddar, started to appear.

By the early 1930s about 1000 farms in Scotland produced cheese but the commercialisation of the dairy industry hit hard and by 1966 there were only eight remaining. I believe at one point in the '70s they were all but extinct. Thankfully for all of us, the early 1980s brought something of a rennaissance and a number of farmers returned to producing quality artisan Scottish cheese. 

By the end of the nineties Farmers Markets had started to emerge in Scotland – Perth being the first in 1999 – and with them, the ‘buy local, eat local’ movement. This fuelled the momentum of the Scottish food and drink industry and gave dairy farmers the platform needed to venture into artisan cheesemaking.

Today, there are around 30 Scottish cheese producers, with the Royal Highland Show launching the prestigious Dairy Championships in 2017. Texture, aroma, taste all play a part in grading within 36 categories with a number of classes focused on ensuring small, artisan cheesemakers are given the representation they deserve. As you may expect, Provender Brown stocks many of these award-winning cheeses, including Strathearn Cheese from right here in Perthshire.

It would be wrong to suggest, however, that all is now rosy in the Scottish cheesemaking world.  Whilst 38% of Scottish milk is used for cheesemaking, the vast majority of that goes to the big industrial producers and that is where the growth is focussed.  For the small producers, it is generally a hard grind with long hours and low margins.  The tiniest change in the milk or production process can have a huge effect on the end cheeses and they are dealing with products that are either highly perishable with short-shelf lives or require long maturation thus tying up capital. 

Food safety requirements are onerous and complex and cheesemakers face the prospect of prosecution (not to mention, danger to life) if they get it wrong.  Like everyone else, in recent times they have been hit by the triple-whammy of Brexit, Covid and the war in Ukraine. We know of at least one small producer who has had to change the starter culture they use, as post-Brexit it now requires a vet's certificate in order to be shipped from France!  

It would be fair to say that there are easier ways of making money and those who stick with it deserve our admiration and support.

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How To Support Scottish Cheesemaking

  • Visit our Scottish produce department and browse what’s on offer. We have an impressive choice (see below) which changes seasonally where relevant (Find out more about seasonality in cheeses)
  • Ask us to recommend a Scottish cheese – for those who can make it into the deli, we’re very happy to offer you a wee taste before you buy.
  • Always choose at least one Scottish cheese for your dinner party cheeseboard or Saturday night snacking session! Guaranteed to taste delicious and a great talking point over the port. See below for my perfect Scottish Cheeseboard.
  • Choose to shop for Scottish Cheese at a small independent cheesemonger or deli. Producers and farmers are paid a fair price that reflects their craft and dedication.

Buy Scottish Cheese online at Provender Brown

From traditional caboc to creamy bries, crumbly farmhouse cheddars to pungent blues, our range of Scottish cheeses offers something to suit all tastes. We regularly stock cheeses from around 12 different Scottish producers covering about 30 different varieties although we may not have all of them at all times – please ask if you have a favourite we currently don’t offer.

Personally, Errington’s range of sheep and goats cheese is a go to for us, but we're equally happy with a tangy St Andrews cheddar. And who could resist the genius of a Fat Cow or a Minger?

And of course, the only way to enjoy these beauties is to sit them atop a Scottish oatcake or cracker, with a dollop of chutney from a fellow artisan. (All cheeses below link straight to the online cheese shop to purchase.)

1. Wilson of Westray

2. Highland Fine Cheese

3. Strathearn Cheese Company

4. Connage Highland Dairy

5. Sgriob Rhuadh Farm

6. Dunlop Dairy

7. Inverloch Cheese

8. Island Cheese Company, Arran

  • Range of flavoured waxed cheddars

9. Errington Cheese

10. St Andrews Cheese

Ed & Elle's Scottish Cheese Board

Serve with Stag Seaweed Cocktail Water Biscuits, and Westray Beremeal Crackers - and of course, a dollop of Galloway Lodge Poachers Pickle.

Choosing To Shop for Cheese At Provender Brown

Sometimes we’re so busy dealing with the day to day that we forget to relay to customers all that we know!
We are extremely passionate about the small artisan producers we stock and take our place in the food chain very seriously. Quite apart from being an experienced bunch of foodies, as a team we have a number of qualifications to back up our love of good food and great producers.

  • Guild of Fine Food Cheese Training
  • Guild of Fine Food Charcuterie Training
  • Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level 2

We are also members of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association and the Guild of Fine Food.

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