The only unpasteurised farmhouse red Leicester made in the world. This version of Sparkenhoe red Leicester is the vintage profile; aged for 18 months, which gives it a strong, powerful flavour.
Jo and David Clarke revived farmhouse red Leicester in 2005 by creating Sparkenhoe cheese. Before that there had been no farmhouse red Leicester made for 50 years. From a three-generation farming family, David had been bemoaning the lack of good quality red Leicester, when his friends challenged him to use his own milk to make one!
So after a short cheese-making course he and Jo began. Using their own unpasteurised milk, they followed traditional recipes (including cloth binding the cheese to mature). They decided to name the cheese after their farm: Sparkenhoe, which means 'gorsey nob' is the name for the ‘hundred area’ in which the farm is based. A 'hundred area' is a medieval administrative method of measuring land - in 1300s there were six different 'hundred areas' in Leciestershire in which Spareknehoe was one (in other areas these are sometimes called 'wards'). Red Leicester had been previously been made on Sparkenhoe farm between 1745 and 1875. Sparkenhoe red Leicester now exits as the only farm-made raw milk red Leicester made in Leicestershire and in keeping with tradition hundreds of years old it is coloured red using the annatto, a natural plant die.
The traditional age for red Leicester is around six months (mellow) but The Courtyard Dairy prefers to stock the Sparkenhoe Vintage red Leicester, aged for up to 18 months, packing a bit more of a punch.
This product will have two weeks shelf life from the date of delivery.