Mary Quicke at the Southernhay Breakfast Club
Mary Quicke’s family has been making cheese for generations. The cows at Quicke’s are grass-fed and she is certain that happy cows make more delicious milk. Mary told an audience of 50 at a recent get together of the Southernhay Breakfast Club, a networking group for local business people, about how Quickes create cheddar that is handmade, cloth-bound and matured with individual customers in mind.
Patting a model truckle of cheese on the table next to her, she described how heritage moulds are used, sourced from a library of starter cultures at Barbers in Shepton Mallet. She is very proud of having the best flavours. “We’re not Prosecco because we’re not everywhere and we’re not quite Chateau Lafite, but perhaps we’re Moët”.
There’s a lot of tasting involved, although Mary didn’t bring any samples as it seemed ‘a bit early at breakfast’. She spends much of her time testing and refining.
The creation of an Academy of Cheese is also on the cards, aiming to upskill the cheese-making process and offer the venerable qualification of “Master of Cheese” to successful graduates.
For a product with such a local heritage, it was perhaps surprising to learn that 40% of the cheese is exported and that the export business is growing fast. Mary expressed some trepidation about the effect of Brexit on the quantity and quality of imports in future. In the recent commodity price drop, however, she has found their business somewhat insulated from its effects and puts this down to "A lot of really good marketing".
The cheeses are available to buy locally at Bon Gout in Magdalen Road, the Real Food Store on Paris Street and, of course at their Farm Shop at Quickes in Newton St Cyres.
The Southernhay Breakfast Club welcomes applications from business people in the Southernhay area. It is run by Jonathan Wadsworth (Beckworth Financial Services) and Adrian Hills (Kirk Hills Accountants). For more information, see the website www.southerhaybc.com.
Image © Maria Thorne