Sparkenhoe Red Leicester
About this item
Sparkenhoe Red Leicester holds a special place in our hearts as a cheese that soldiered through many hard times (WWII rationing, Britain’s industrialization, etc.), but stayed true to its roots and has re-emerged as magnificent as it once was. The lesson: you cannot keep a good cheese down. Some crazy cheese fanatic will resurrect it, and in this case that credit goes to the David and Jo Clarke.
Thanks to the Clarkes, Sparkenhoe Red Leicester is finally being created as it was originally--handmade with the following ingredients:
• Raw milk from one herd of pasture-raised cows
• Natural orange coloring from the Annatto plant
So why the orange? It’s all marketing, and it has been since the 1700’s. Red Leicester was first dyed by British settlers in the “New World” so that it would resemble the higher-quality cheeses back home, which at that time had a rust-colored shade to them. In more recent times, the orange coloring is used to visually differentiate it from its peers.
Similar to farmhouse cheddars, wheels of Sparkenhoe Red Leicester are wrapped in cloth and aged for six months. It is a fairly mild but complex cheese with both sweet and nutty flavors. Its texture depends on age; the longer it’s aged, the more granular it becomes.