Fen Farm Dairy: What is it that makes Baron Bigod so special?
Grazing the slopes of Suffolk’s Waveney Valley, the Crickmore’s family of Montbeliarde cows are an uplifting sight, munching their way happily through the rich grasses of Fen Farm. With multiple awards under their belt for their Baron Bigod, Barbury Hill were intrigued to discover what it is that makes their cheese so special, and eager to sample their soft cheeses and raw butter to pick out the very best to deliver to your homes.
Fen Farm has been in the Crickmore family for decades, and their dedication and passion has led them to move out of the mainstream and into the skilled world of artisan cheeses, a move that has seen them winning a Gold medal at the Best Cheese Awards in 2017 and the James Aldridge Memorial Award for the Best British Raw Cheese 2018.
It is this award-winning Brie-de-Meaux style cheese that has aficionados and food critics sitting up and taking notice. Think of a gooey, meltingly unctuous brie and your mind will likely wander across the Channel to a French brie. But it’s time to turn our gazes to our own doorstep, where Fen Farm Dairy has taken a traditional recipe passed on by a French cheesemaker and crafted something that not only rivals that of their French counterparts, but has recently been voted above them by the Daily Mail.
Perhaps it is the Suffolk grasses or the milk of the Montbeliarde herds, but the distinctive flavour of Baron Bigod captured our tastebuds, and our hearts, immediately. As the first farm and in the UK to produce this raw milk Brie-de-Meaux style cheese, we just had to bring it to our Barbury Hill customers. Intensely flavoured and decadently rich, it has a certain earthiness from the mushroom notes that is utterly delicious and dangerously moreish.
On a recent visit to the farm we were lucky enough to see the whole cheese making process in action. We marvelled at the silk-like texture and smooth finish, we heard how it is made in the early morning and saw the the raw milk still warm from the cow being mixed with the mould cultures and rennet just metres from the milking parlour. It spends up to 8-weeks tucked away, the flavours deepening and maturing to create the complex palate and aromas that are garnering praise and likely have French brie producers more than a little anxieux.
It’s joined at Barbury Hill by a truffled version, its heart filled with summer truffle cream and mascarpone that bring their own intense flavours. The light, buttery St Jude is another of our favourites, found in each of Barbury Hill’s carefully handpicked collections, while its sister product, St Cera, is found only in our Signature Soft Cheese Collection and is a meltingly oozy delight. No collection would be complete without the creamy Bungay Raw Butter, a traditional farmhouse butter but the only one in the UK produced using a lactic culture and as close to the original Suffolk butter that we have found.
Baron Bigod has graced the dinner parties and cheese boards of many Barbury Hill customers and the glowing feedback has confirmed what we knew from that very first taste, that this is something truly special. With free delivery from Barbury Hill, a handpicked collection of Fen Farm cheeses makes a wonderful gift, whether that’s for loved ones, or yourself.
by Dan Smith, Barbury Hill Founder
Dan founded Barbury Hill and he is the man behind our mission to shine a light on the best of British food and drink. He loves wine, cider and small batch cheese. And every producer on Barbury Hill.