Birditt has spent the past few years visiting all sorts of food producers, but Britain’s cheese makers have particularly captured his imagination. Visiting the likes of Fenn Farm in Suffolk, where the heralded Baron Bigod is produced, or Graham Kirkham of Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire Cheese, Birditt was struck by “their deep knowledge of their local landscape and ecosystem,” he explains.
“The more I delved into the world of cheese, I was amazed by the idea that someone could craft morsels of edible delightfulness from the soil, and just loved how cheese was not only a wonderful, delicious food product, but a way of creating a product whilst improving the state of the environment as well.”
A Portrait of British Cheese is ostensibly a recipe book. Featuring 30 recipes, one each from 30 producers (narrowing down was understandably tough), the dishes are either based on what the cheesemakers themselves cook with their produce, or Birditt’s own creations.
Yet the book’s key thrust is to tell their remarkable stories. “I want to celebrate those people who are really protecting the rural, natural environment,” Birditt says.
Berkswell and streaky bacon straws