I met Sue Proudfoot near Bude in Cornwall when filming a recent cookery series called the Hungry Sailors for ITV. We instantly had a good connection and when I decided to start my own food business Sue was one of the first people I contacted and wanted to work with. Sue has been making cheese for about 12 years. She also paints milk churns and used to run a flock of pedigree sheep. Sue embarked on her cheese-making career around the year 2000. The family needed an additional source of income, her husband Frazer milked cows every day and so she had the idea to add value to her milk. Sue started making her own cheese in a converted corner of the stable with buckets and tractor weights for a cheese press. It was real trial and error process to start with and she discovered very early on that to make any real money she had to start selling to the lucrative London market. After a few trips up and down to London on the train with a backpack full of cheese the big boys realised she was serious.
She now sells to Fortnum and Masons, Paxton and Whitfield as well as small deli’s and restaurants all over the West Country. Sue says that ‘cheese making is an exciting process and really is more of an art than a science’. She makes five different cheeses: Trelawney, Miss Muffet, Cornish Crumbly, Keltic Gold and Cornish Smuggler. Keltic Gold is the most well-known; it is a very pungent cheese that is hand washed and scrubbed with Cornish Cider three times a week. Sue told me that “Towards the end of last year, I was asked to produce a traditional farmhouse cheese which looked attractive on a cheeseboard. Cornish Smuggler. I came up with a traditional farmhouse recipe, which gives the cheese a traditional flavour with a balanced acidity and creamy texture which is protected by a natural attractive pink / grey mould rind. In addition, I add annatto, a water soluble vegetarian food colouring which is naturally derived from the seed pods of the Bixa Orellana tree. This gives a wonderful soft red veining throughout the cheese whilst not interfering with the development of flavour.” I’ve found that the natural colouring adds something to the Triple Cheese Pasty’s unique appearance but primarily for me it is the creamy taste. The result is a spectacular, colourful and flavoursome cheese which livens up any cheeseboard or makes a pasty proper Posh!