THE south Cumbrian cheesemakers behind the internationally acclaimed artisan farmhouse cheese St. James, have just launched a new seasonal batch of their multi-award-winning delicacy.

Martin Gott and Nicola Robinson make a variety of cheeses on their farm at Holker Farm, Cark,

St James is one of a kind and that’s all because of the production process. Martin and Nicola use a non-intensive method of farming. Their flock of Lacaune sheep graze the rich pastures found on their farm, they’re only milked once a day, which delivers better quality milk and places the animal under less stress.

Once the sheep are milked their still warm milk goes straight into the cheese making vats. But to make cheese you need to add bacterial culture to acidify the milk.

Martin is one of a handful of producers in the UK that makes his own using milk from his own sheep. By doing it this Martin and Nicola are making a truly unique cheese.

Once the cultures and rennet are added the curd is set before being ladled into moulds where it will drain overnight. Over the next week the cheese goes into a hastening room where it is kept warm and salted to encourage its distinctive orange yeasty rind to develop. It then goes into the maturing room for 3-4 weeks where it is washed 1-2 times a week to further develop the, which is a major contributor to the flavour of the cheese.

St James is also strongly influenced by seasonality, as well, which means that its flavour profile can vary from a deep and punchy, to a distinct milky freshness. Alongside that the texture of the cheese itself can vary too depending on when it was produced and its age, which means it can range from a buttery softness to a much firmer textured cheese.

The artisan cheeses are available from a variety of specialist cheese mongers across the UK including Neals Yard, London, Cartmel Cheeses, Cumbria, New Market Dairy, Manchester and Courtyard Dairy, in the Yorkshire Dales.

Martin said: "Starting to make St James again is always a good feeling, without fail each year the first and last days of the season are the most exciting."