Cheesemakers of Canterbury is run by Jane, who has more than 20 years experience in the dairy trade, retailing as Dargate Dairy, but sold the business in May 2006 to Dairy Crest. Still wanting to be in the dairy trade Jane happened to come upon an advert at around the same time from a cheese making couple in Wiltshire (Pat & David) who were looking to retire. They agreed to train Jane and the small team on the equipment and so the Ashmore recipe and all their cheese making equipment were bought, brought to Kent and the old dairy at Dargate completely refurbished with production beginning in May 2007.
The cheese making process is very intensive and a team of three cheese makers use traditional methods to make all the cheeses by hand from fresh local British Friesian cow’s milk collected from Debden Farm near Canterbury every morning.
Since 2007 the cheese range has expanded with several award accolades and a prestigious Bronze medal in the 2010 World Cheese Awards. In response to customer demand, The Cheesemakers of Canterbury also developed its own hard goat’s cheese based on the Ashmore recipe and in 2008, Kelly’s Canterbury Goat won a Gold Medal at the British Cheese Awards. Made from local goat’s milk from Ellie’s Dairy in Wychling and the Zeila herd near Margate, this cheese is matured for about three months to produce an extremely creamy and tasty hard goat’s cheese that has proved to be very popular.
12 people are now working with Jane and recent expansion has also seen a new location added to Dargate, at Hastingleigh, which is currently focussing on production of the growing soft cheese range including Kentish Brie, Camembert, Blue and a range of new goat’s cheeses.