We are the last remaining traditional farmhouse cheese from the Hebridean Islands and the only dairy farm on the island, everyone else is far more sensible!
All of our cheese is made with unpasteurised milk from our hardy, healthy, island cows fed on grass and whisky grains from the Tobermory Distillery.
The making of cheese on the Scottish Isles has been a long practiced way of conserving the rich plentiful milk in the spring and early summer. Hard cheeses such as ours were traditionally made as there would be a long wait until the cheese could reach the market, and soft cheese would not travel or last so well. Although now here at Sgriob-Ruadh we calve and milk all year round, meaning we have a consistent supply of milk for our cheese making, in the past making cheese was used to preserve the smaller quantities which were available only at certain times of year.
Fine cheese, of course, can not be made with out the very best of milk. No cheese is made with fresher milk than that used at Sgriob-ruadh. Here, in the morning, as the cows are milked, their milk is taken directly from the milking parlour to the cheese-making vat. This is the freshness denied to the large scale, factory-like cheese-making plant of today, who must first collect their milk by road-tanker from many farms over a wide area.
Milk deserves to be treated more kindly! By having complete control over its production and care, we are able to ensure that at all times it gets the respect it deserves. Isle of Mull Cheese milk is therefore spared the effrontery of pasteurisation. We believe pasteurisation to be unnecessarily brutal way of treating milk to be used for the making of Isle of Mull Cheese. Far too many of those organisms, which have the potential to create individualism and maturity of flavour, are indiscriminately sacrificed in the process.
We strive to keep our cheese as natural as possible, not even adding colouring (commonly used in cheese making). For that reason, the cheeses we make in winter, when the cows are being fed hay, are whiter in appearance than those made when fresh, green grass is more readily available. We want our cheese to be recognised for its individuality of flavour and taste - not by the brightness in colour!!
From time to time, blue veins develop in "Isle of Mull". This is a natural blueing considered by many to be a delectable bonus; certainly it is not harmful and generally such blueing is found in cheese of especially rich maturity.
This is our traditional Farmhouse cheese which we have been making here at Sgriob-Ruadh for 40 years now.
This is a hard cows milk cheese, cheddar like, with punchy flavours.
Our Hebridean Blue Cheese has been made here at Sgriob-ruadh for around 10 years.
This is a semi-soft blue cheese with a serious kick.
Each and every batch of cheese we make comes out slightly different than the one before, we feel this is part of the fun of making unpasteurised cheese. The flavours are influenced by our environment, animal breeding, our process including the type of starter and rennet used and the care taken during maturation. The blue can be particularly temperamental...but (when it goes right!) we enjoy allowing the cheese to speak its own language.