Behind the scenes at St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese

St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese

Fife’s pioneering cheesemaker shares her art with visitors to the farm

Rarely has one cheese gone so far. Not only has the Stewart family managed to spin a delightful café business out of their award-winning Anster cheese, but the building on their family farm Falside also houses a viewing gallery where customers can watch cheesemaker Jane Stewart and her assistants prepare it from scratch. It’s a unique and distinctive visitor attraction but, as she points out, ‘people are increasingly fascinated by their food and where it comes from, and here they can watch every stage of our cheese being made.’

Although watching the Stewarts’ herd of Friesian cows being milked would require a very early start, the rest of the process occurs in full view of the public all day from Monday to Thursday, with an instructional video and printed displays telling the condensed story while the curds and whey are separated or the cheese is pressed into muslin-lined pots. ‘Some people will watch a part of the process, pop out and come back later in the day to see what’s going on,’ says Stewart. ‘They take a great interest when they see what’s actually happening.’

Perhaps the most pleasantly surprising aspect is just how labour-intensive the whole process is, but then Stewart’s cheeses – the original, crumbly Anster has recently been joined by a cheddar –are artisan products and its makers aren’t afraid to demonstrate that. But doesn’t Stewart feel self-conscious working in the public gaze? ‘No,’ she laughs, ‘I actually quite enjoy it, and we’ll pop into the gallery ourselves and answer questions. Of course, the comment we get the most is, “It’s just like my granny used to do it… .”’

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St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company

St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company

Falside Farm, Anstruther, Fife, KY10 2RT

Cheesemaker and farm café serving local produce and home baking with views towards the sea.