The Family Secrets

The Family Secrets

These are the keys to our family’s most treasured possession: the recipe for Ivy’s Reserve vintage Cheddar. They open the safe that contains Ivy’s notebook, in which she wrote down the specific recipe that made her vintage Cheddar so creamy, nutty and well-rounded. We still use it today, even if we don’t have to refer to the recipe quite so often.

Back in Ivy’s time, there were far more farmers making Cheddar in Somerset, so her recipe was really valuable. Ivy’s Reserve started winning awards almost immediately, so it was fair to say it stood out from the crowd. There were lots of factors that contributed to that.

The start of it all was the recipe she brought with her when she married our grandfather, Tom, in 1927. This was the recipe that Ivy’s family, the Thorns, had used and when she began making Cheddar from the cows Tom farmed, she tried this. It was a serious decision, too, as her diary notes that she was taught cheesemaking methods by Miss Taylor from the Somerset Farm Institute, who came to stay at the farm.

Ivy’s natural talent meant that she improved on the family recipe almost at once – even if her initial breakthrough was leaving the cheese to mature a little longer because she was nervous about the results. The rest was a combination of skill (Ivy was a great cook, which is essential for a cheesemaker) and hard work. Ivy had very high standards, which came out in the pursuit of excellence and also, vitally, in cleanliness.

All this made Ivy a pioneer in what we’d now call Cheese Technology. It also gave us our delicious vintage Cheddar, which is why we still keep it under lock and key. The notebook also contains her method for making butter and all our other cheeses too. We’re not going to tell you where the safe is (that’s another family secret) but we’re very happy to share the results of Ivy’s recipe with you.

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