in the UK
The area produces some of the best cheeses in the UK and claims to produce the best cheese in the world in Montgomery's cheddar. They range from traditional farmhouse cheese makers with international reputations, to cottage industry craft cheese makers, to farms that are virtually factories, and factories that belong to global corporations. In this book, Michael Raffael charts the development of cheese making in the West Country, from the seventeenth century Cheddar tradition to the diverse cheese industry of today. In the first part, each chapter looks at one, usually award-wining, cheese in conjunction with a cheese producer, showing that the stories of the colourful characters behind cheese making are linked with the manufacture and history of the cheese itself. Michael Raffael outlines the manufacturing process of each cheese be it Cheddar, Caerphilly, feta, buffalo mozzarella, Bath soft cheese or Yarg, and investigates the differences between a hand-crafted cheese and an industrially manufactured one. He shows how the best cheese makers translate their passion into the process and treat each different batch of cheese like winemakers would a vintage. The second half of the book comprises of a comprehensive summary and description of every cheese and cheese producer in the West Country. Interspersed throughout the book are inserts and spreads that cover topics such as specialist cheese pubs, cheese-related folk traditions, cheese at farmers' markets, specialist cheese shops and recipes using cheese.