Neals Yard Dairy

Within the Arches of Neals Yard Dairy, the Production Team of 15 people will be co-owning this project. Our Production Team fulfils orders for Ecommerce, Wholesale and Export customers, and will be learning more about affinage in this process, as each person will share in the maturation of the cheese.  

Why did you enter the competition?

For us this project is about learning. The Production Team sends out our products all over the world each day. This is our opportunity to have a cheese of our own, to make decisions about which environment it will go in and for how long. We are excited about making educated guesses on what will happen to the cheese in an environment, and then actually witnessing the affect that environment has on the rind development, smell, etc. With this competition, we are eager to see how this experiment worked alongside the decisions that others have made with the same style of cheese.  

What is your relationship with affinage to date?

We have a team under the same roof who specialize in maturation of cheese. Many times we wish we could absorb more of their knowledge, but sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to dig deep and spend loads of time in another department.  

We are pleased that we have these professional’s expertise right at our fingertips, but that we can ultimately make the call on what happens to our one cheese. It feels like we are learning from the Maturation Team in a new way by having our own project.  

How are you approaching the maturation and why have you chosen this approach?

We tasted the cheese, and shared ideas. Since the cheese is pasteurized and already three months old, we decided to take larger risks in seeing how much more extreme environments can affect the flavour development. We are putting our cheese in a room at 12 degrees C (and 90-95% humidity) for the first couple of weeks to see what the rind can really do in that environment. After that, we will move the cheese onto a shelf in a more stable environment. We give the cheese a flip once a week as well.  

What are your expectations for the matured cheese, including flavour profile after 9 months?

Because we are taking bigger risks within which environment we put the cheese, we are expecting a wider range of possible outcomes. Hopefully the cheese will have developed some really interesting flavours from the rind development. Hopefully the cheese will not produce any wild off-flavours from our decision to “go big or go home”!