New cheese on the block wins top national award

Joe Davenport with the Best Cheese Award for his washed rind Lindum, part of the Cote Hill family of cheeses EMN-140306-084109001
Joe Davenport with the Best Cheese Award for his washed rind Lindum, part of the Cote Hill family of cheeses EMN-140306-084109001

A fledgling cheese that has only been in production for six months has proved to be a favourite with judges at this year British Cheese Awards.

After being awarded a Gold Medal in its class, Lindum, created at Osgodby’s Cote Hill Farm, was named Best New Cheese overall.

Developed by the latest addition to the Davenport family business, son Joe, the washed-rind speciality cheese beat off the competition from 68 other cheeses to take the top spot.

“I feel very privileged but quite shocked to have won,” said Joe.

“I spent some time trying to improve the Cote Hill Reserve recipe; it ended up being quite different and that is how Lindum came about.”

The cheese takes just a morning to make, but three months to mature.

And it was the specific conditions required for the maturation process that took Joe the time to get right.

“There were some problems with the air flow and mould,” added dad Michael. “But Joe worked his way through it and we now use a beer cooler, which has no air movement but keeps the air chilled.”

And that seems an appropriate solution, as Lindum has one other feature - it is rubbed with locally brewed Tom Woods beer.

But Joe left it to mum Mary to collect the trophy on his behalf from the awards, which took place at the Royal Bath & West Show.

“Somebody had to stay behind and look after the farm,” added Joe.

Continued success for Cote Hill Cheese

The Best New Cheese title is just the latest in a long line of awards for the Osgodby based Davenports.

After farming and milking cows at Cote Hill Farm for more than 20 years, Michael and Mary Davenport decided to turn their hand to cheesemaking in 2005, using the milk produced by their herd of Friesian, Holstein and Red Poll cows.

And it proved to be a success from the off - with their Blue cheese winning Best New Cheese at the British Awards less than a year later.

Since then, they have picked up countless awards, including a bronze medal at the World Cheese Awards and an individual Best Novice Cheesemaker title for Joe at the Nantwich International Awards.

“We keep putting in entries and you always hope you will get something,” said Mary.

“Artisan cheeses are becoming more and more popular, so you need to find something different.”

And that is what they are doing with their latest product - Cote Hill White - which has been developed as a joint effort between the Davenports and agricultural student Joseph darling, who is on a year’s placement at the farm.