Strathearn Cheese April 02, 2016 10:23
As you know, we all love a good foodie story here at Provender Brown and so, when our long-time friend and business associate, Pierre Leger, called to say he was leaving his position in Clarks Speciality Foods to set up his own cheese making company we were all very excited! Clarks has been one of our suppliers for years and they have an untarnished reputation for sourcing and supplying some of the best ingredients around. We knew, therefore, that Pierre’s standards would be impeccable and with his passion for quality and taste it was sure to be a winner.
Over the years Pierre found that chefs and delis were asking for the same, untraceable item. We wanted a specific French style cheese but we wanted it to be made right here in Scotland. Brie and Camembert had crossed over well… why not the others?
Armed with his research, Pierre spotted an opportunity and after a drunken conversation with his rugby team mate, Drew Watson (who up until recently sold fire safety equipment for a living!) the idea for Strathearn Cheese was born. They spent a year searching for the right premises before finally setting up at Cultybraggan Camp near Comrie.
The premises had originally been an old prisoner of war camp and were used in the years since by the army. When the TA moved out five or six years ago, Comrie Development Trust snapped it up and Pierre and Drew transformed the old kitchen into a creamery.
The pair shared a vision of producing their cheeses using quality, local ingredients and have been guided by the amazing produce around them. As artisan cheesemakers rather than farmers they need a chain of suppliers and buy their milk from local business, Graham’s Dairy. They also source from Summer Harvest Rapeseed Oil (who you’ll all know from Provender Brown’s shelves) and Glenturret Distillery.
After carefully sourcing the best ingredients they waved their magic wand (that was as much info as I was getting from Pierre!) and lo and behold, they have produced two delicious Strathearn Cheeses both of which are based on old French recipes. They were officially born on March 8th and in this short time have already produced their first batch of Lady Mary.
LADY MARY CHEESE
Named after a famous walk in Crieff, this is a soft, fresh cheese laced with wild garlic which the pair forage from the side of the river near the creamery. They wash, steam and dry the herb before sprinkling on the cheese and drizzling with Summer Harvest Truffle Rapeseed Oil. It is a lactic cheese made from cow's milk and has a fresh, lemony taste and subtle flavours of the wild garlic and truffle. Matured for 3 days to 1 week and sold as an individual cheese – 200gms – it is in stock now.
Strathearn is a soft rennet-set cow's milk cheese, matured for 4 weeks. After setting, the cheese is washed with a whisky-flavoured brine every other day during the ripening process. True to their word, the pair have stayed local and are using Glenturret single malt which is of course, distilled just down the road from them.
Strathearn is orange in colour and the pungent rind is a beautiful contrast to the sweetness of the paste. Because it takes longer to mature, this won’t be ready until mid-April but we have our order in and I am in no doubt it will be every bit as good as the Lady Mary.
Apart from the fact we always love to find delicious new cheeses, and putting aside the fact that we’ve known and worked with Pierre for years, this news is exciting simply because Perthshire once again has its own cheese. We’re thrilled to be among the very first wave of stockists and to be supporting our old friend as he strides out into this new adventure as poacher turned gamekeeper.
Drop into the deli and ask for a wee taste – you’ll be very glad you did.