St Gluvias is a hard, unpasteurised, cow’s milk cheese, made by Trevor and Julie Howe of Kennall Vale Cheese, based in the village of Ponsanooth, near Falmouth in Cornwall.
The couple are farmers and Julie had been making batches of cheese in their farmhouse kitchen for several years, just for family and friends. In 2014 they decided to produce cheese commercially and now make St Gluvias and Treloar, a pasteurised hard cheese. St Gluvias is named after the local parish and is currently the only hard cheese made with raw milk in Cornwall.
Milk comes from the farm’s 60-strong herd of Ayrshires, a breed renowned for its creamy milk. The changing seasons mean that the cows graze an eclectic diet, ranging from fresh grass through to turnips or silage, which is reflected in subtle changes in the taste of the cheese. The make begins early in the morning when fresh milk is pumped, still-warm, through to the on-farm dairy. Starter cultures and rennet are added to form a curd, which is then cut into cubes. After some heating and stirring, the whey is drained away and the blocks of curd are cut and stacked – the process known as ‘cheddaring’ (for photos of the process, see Sparkenhoe). Finally, after milling and salting, the curds are packed into moulds and pressed overnight, before being sent to maturing rooms.
To taste- the texture is firm and the taste earthy and creamy, not dissimilar to a farmhouse Cheddar. The smoked version is – predictably – smoky but, even so, the flavour manages to fight its way out. The perfect ‘new’ cheese to have within your cheese board this Christmas!