CHEESE making may not be an Olympic sport, but it has won two gold medals in one month for Erica and Derek Barton.
The couple, who run Neustift Dairy Goats from their farm in Lyneham, were given top awards at both the British and the Global Cheese Awards.
They have been making goat’s cheese professionally for 10 years and Erica says their secret for success is using fresh ingredients.
“It’s using fresh milk more or less straight from the animal. “We have our own goats and our own milk. The cheese is made within an hour of milking, it is extremely fresh. We’re just going into making some aged cheese now,” said the 64-year-old.
“Everything we do is unpasteurised as well. If you pasteurise it alters the flavour of the cheese. The French wouldn’t dream of pasteurising their cheese.”
Last month, their plain goat’s cheese, known as Neustift, took the honours at the British Cheese Awards, and their lovage and garlic flavoured goat’s cheese, called Parkland, was crowned a winner at the Global Cheese Awards.
The couple, who run a stall at the farmers’ market at Swindon’s Designer Outlet on Sundays, have won titles at the Best of the West Awards, the British Cheese Awards and the World Cheese Awards in previous years.
“It’s just nice to know that you are that standard because it is very important to your business,” said Erica.
The cheese is made at Preston West Farm in Lyneham, where the couple have about 70 goats.
They got their first goats more than 20 years ago.
“We bought a couple of house goats and wanted to make cheese for the house. We joined a local goat show and took our first goat we bred there and got best in show. We got 12 best in shows that year,” said Erica.
“We got the bug for showing, and cheese went on the backburner. We showed for about 10 years but decided not to show anymore when foot and mouth was around in 2000. We decided to get into cheese in a bigger way.
“We have got four gold medals now with the British Cheese Awards and got some with the Taste of the West and the World Cheese Awards.”
The couple are currently developing their aged cheese production.
“When it’s fresh you can’t really taste the goat in it. It is still different to cheese from a cow but it is not goaty in flavour. As it is aged and ripened then it changes in appearance. It becomes more goaty in flavour after it has been kept for about three weeks,” Erica added.