Vintage Sparkenhoe Red Leicester has a wonderful depth of flavour and is the only unpasteurised Red Leicester still made in the area. Made by David and Jo Clarke, this is a very striking cheese due to it's deep orange colour, which comes from annatto, a natural orange dye. Dyeing the cheese likely originated from makers of Red Leicester trying to differentiate their cheese from Cheddars, Cheshires and the like and a bright orange colour would make them stand out.
The texture of this cheese is very much like that of a cheddar, but the flavours are different; rich and nutty but with a light lemony flavour on the finish, subtly tangy.
Sparkenhoe Red Leicester is made with their farm's own unpasteurised milk, with the annatto added to the curds before scalding, cutting, salting and pressing. The cheese is then bound in cloth and matured for up to 18 months. Traditionally Red Leicester would only be matured for around 6 months.
The Vintage is a satisfying cheese on a cheeseboard but also wonderful with a hunk of crusty bread and lashings of butter.
This cheese is suitable to eat during pregnancy.
Main image by Spoonful of Happy Photography