I've always loved cheese. From the moment I could say Camembert (or come-on-bear as I used to call it) I can't get enough of the stuff! So when I was reading Tamasin Day-Lewis's cookbook before bed the other night, and she continually referenced Montgomery's cheese, I thought I'd get in touch with them and see if I could arrange a little snoop around their cheese factory, to see where the best of the best is made. After all, they were our local cheese farm where I grew up.

So a couple of Sundays ago we headed off to Somerset to go on our tour of the Montgomery cheese factory.
We arrived at the farm, where they've made cheese for over 100 years, amid chaos of escaped cows roaming the village, and a 4x4 stuck in a field that needed towing, but Jamie Montgomery was there to greet us anyway, before whizzing off for a bit to ensure the escaped cows weren't causing any damage to neighbours' gardens.

These aren't the escaped cows - they're just some of the Montgomery cows that were on the farm the day we went there - calves and heifers that go on to produce the milk for the cheddar.

Having met the cows, we headed over the factory area, popped our white overalls and boots on, sanitized our hands, and were introduced to Steve who was running cheese production that day.

I was quite surprised at how small the 'factory' was. They produce about 16 truckles of cheese a day there, and the room for actually making the stuff was so much smaller than I'd imagined.

Let me talk you through how the Montgomery cheddar is made (they also make Ogleshield cheese in this factory, but that's a different story!)....

Every morning, 7 days a week, at around 6am, between 800 and 900 gallons of milk from the herd of black and white Friesian cows (from the night before and that morning) is pumped into a large metal bath. This is mixed with a pint of the starter formula (a closely guarded recipe!), which goes on to determine the acidity, flavour and texture of the cheese.

The milk is churned for around 4 hours at 40C, a process that separates the curds from the whey.

Once sufficient separation has happened the whole lot is released into another metal bath in the next room, but this one has a perforated grid in the bottom of it where the whey drains out (and goes off to make pig feed), leaving just the curds.

This happens pretty quickly considering the volume of curds and whey - I think it took about 15 minutes to empty the top bath, and another 25 or so for the whey to drain from the bottom bath.

Steve's on hand to help the process along...

The next part of the process was the one that I really wasn't expecting - as they drain, the curds turn to globules and then into sheets of globules. This happens really quickly.

The sheets of curds become so solid that they are sliced with a knife and then turned over and piled up on each other.

These are left to drain completely and piled up again, squeezing out any excess moisture. This pressing takes about an hour in total. The next step is to salt the cheese. All the nicely pressed slabs of curds are put through what looks like a massive mincing machine, and mixed with salt as they come out the other end.

It was about half a bucket of salt to 800 gallons of milk...

This leaves a drier looking substance that's then put in large containers to actually create the cheese.

Once safely wrapped in its muslin, the cheese is transferred to the store room, which is massive!

I've never seen so much cheese in one place!

Here the cheese sits wrapped in muslin on wooden shelves for anything up to 18 months, depending on the strength required - the longer it's left, the stronger the cheese tastes. It sits on a shelf with other cheese of the same age, and matures away at a temperature of around 11C - there is a lot of precise science behind getting the perfect cheese! Even those made within days of each other can taste different due to the weather when the cows were milked, the grass's cycle when it was eaten, and many, many more variances. 

The muslin attracts a mould that works the cheese to create the extraordinary flavour you get from Montgomery cheddar.

This particular truckle was made in August last year....

As I mentioned the Montgomery cheese farm also produces a cheese called Ogleshield, which is similar to a raclette cheese in its texture and melt-ability. It tastes really delicious both cold and melted, and instead of being made from the Friesian milk it's made from Jersey milk, on a much smaller scale. That doesn't stop the guys from Kappacasein at Borough market getting through 20 whole cheeses a weekend, serving it melted on top of potatoes!

Montgomery cheese is stocked by Neals Yard, Paxman and Whitfield and quite a lot of farmers markets, and can be ordered for delivery via the Montgomery website here (where it's much cheaper than in London!). I can't recommend Montgomery cheese enough - a large glass of red wine, the Sunday newspapers and some of their mature cheddar with biscuits if pretty much my idea of heaven! 


  1. What an interesting post! I am such a huge cheese fan and the stronger the better in my opinion.

    I'm going to have to pay this place a visit as I know I'd find it so interesting.

    Love the recommendation with the red wine and Sunday's papers! Perfect!

    Caroline x
    Cocktails and Caroline

    1. Thanks Caroline. You have to try their cheese, so good!! I used it at my pop up last weekend and it went down a treat :)

      Rosie xx

  2. An entire post about cheese is my kind of post Rosie! Really like your blog, just started following :) xx

    1. Hi Emily

      Thanks for following - will try and keep the cheese post ratio up!!

      Rosie xx


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