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The only whey is the West Country

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From brilliant blues to gorgeous goat’s cheese, South West cheesemakers do more than just pay homage to fromage. Tom Williams-Hawkes of The Salutation Inn at Topsham shares his pick of local faves for a cheeseboard of distinction


‘The flavour of cheese varies with the seasons in the same way that vintages of wine differ,’ says Tom. ‘So the line-up on our cheeseboard, sourced from Gary Jungheim at Topsham’s Country Cheeses, changes every few months. Our wine man Steve Edwardes likes a white with his cheese but I’m happy to stick to the classic port or a glass of red.’

No Name (vegetarian, pasteurised)
Without a name for a year, the label No Name stuck. Channel Island cow’s milk lends a deep golden colour to this White Lake cheese. Lightly rindwashed, it possesses a supple, sensual texture and a full buttery flavour.

White Nancy (vegetarian, unpasteurised)
A goat’s cheese with a bloomy white rind made by Peter Humphries and Roger Longman at White Lake dairy near Glastonbury. Full bodied with a good goaty taste, the flavours get deeper and richer as it ripens.

Elmhirst (vegetarian)
Made from the milk of Jersey cows which graze at the Sharpham Estate on the banks of the River Dart, this triple crème cheese has the decadent addition of double cream to give it more body.

Beenleigh Blue (pasteurised, vegetarian)
Beenleigh rocks roquefort. This nutty blue is Devon’s answer to the famous French cheese. Creamy yet crumbly, savoury yet sweet, this cheese from Ben Harris is a delish delicacy.

Trehill (vegetarian, pasteurised)
This gorgeously garlicky, scrummy Devon cheese is made exclusively for Country Cheeses – and offers ideal protection from vampires.

Pennard Ridge Red (vegetarian, pasteurised)
Made by Shepton Mallet wizards of whey Philip Rainbow and Anita Robinson, this goat’s cheese is quite unusual in that it’s red. Annatto, a natural vegetable colouring, gives the cheese its lovely glow. It’s a little spicy and moist with a delicious piquancy.

Also try

The Salutation Inn

Just awarded the title of UK's Bed and Breakfast, The Salutation Inn is yet another delightful reason to visit the foodie empire of Topsham near Exeter

Tom William Hawkes

He's worked with Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing, but for the past four years, chef proprietor Tom has channelled his energies into The Salutation Inn