Kidderton Ash

Some 'Kidderton Ash' goats' milk cheese.

One day about six years ago, on my weekly trip to the supermarket, I found the shelves all but bare of milk and bread. There had been a light fall of snow, a relatively uncommon phenomenon hereabouts, but one which awakens an irrepressible urge in my compatriots to stock up on these two essential items at all costs, lest the inch of snow on the ground bring all food distribution to an immediate standstill. A few bottles of goats' milk were about all that remained: I felt the time was right to try some.

My first few sporadic encounters with goats' milk cheeses had not left a positive impression. I found their caprine tang decidedly off-putting. The milk too had an undeniable note of goat which did not appeal at first taste. On trying it a second and third time, however, my initial distaste gave way to tolerance. I wasn’t converted all at once, but this equivocal experience prompted me to start trying the occasional piece of goats' milk cheese with renewed curiosity. One of those that I grew to enjoy was ‘Kidderton Ash’, an opened pack of which is shown in the photo above.

It’s one of the many products sold by Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses, based in Lancashire’s Ribble Valley. The milk apparently comes from their farms, but I gather the cheese is made in Cheshire. The developing cheeses are sprinkled with ash, which reputedly encourages the formation of an edible rind. It’s a fairly mild cheese with just a slight hint of goatiness adding a little depth to its flavour.