Cornish Kern cheese produced by Lynher Dairies was crowned Taste of the West’s Supreme Champion Product of 2020.
This product was selected from a group of 25 champion products from the Taste of the West Awards, and judges were “blown away by its sweet aroma, solid bite and a healthy dose of rich dairy flavours”. Kern is arguably a modern-day legend of British cheese.
Ponsanooth-based Lynher Dairies is the sole producer of both the award-winning Cornish Kern cheese and the iconic nettle-wrapped Cornish Yarg. The dairy owns a herd of Ayrshires to provide the rich and creamy milk that goes into its award-winning cheeses.
Owned by Catherine Mead, Lynher Dairies employs the whole team from herdsmen to briners, nettlers to packers. Both Kern and Yarg are made by hand in open vats by a small team of dedicated cheesemakers who work with both science and intuition.
After having been crowned Supreme Champion at the World Cheese Awards in 2017, Cornish Kern has now gone on to win both Taste of the West’s Champion Cheese Award 2020 and the Supreme Champion Product Award 2020.
“Our fields are where our story begins,” said Mead. “A healthy soil rich in nutrients grows the very best grass and that is what we want our cows to feed on. Free-ranging, pasture-fed cows produce wonderful milk which in turn produces great cheese. Cornish Kern is proof of that.”
Lynher’s Ayrshire cows have a diet of 80% grazed grass with 20% conserved forage, the opposite of an intensive farming regime. They graze for 70% of the year and when it’s wet and windy, they are bedded inside on sea sand. The salt in the sand is inert, killing all bacteria. The salty bedding is swept up into the slurry which is sprayed onto the fields in spring, helping keep the PH of the soil up.
This is said to be particularly useful in Cornwall because the granite land has an inherently low PH and grass requires the soil to be 6.5%. The grass seed is a mix of perennial rye grasses and white clover which is rich in protein and fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere through its root system. Pesticides are never used.
A full list of all product winners, champion finalists and winners from the Taste of the West Awards 2020, click here.