Cambus O'May Cheese Company skillfully maintains tradition and creamery history

The Deeside Whey

The Cambus O’May Cheese Company combines traditional methods and business savvy.

Located in the heart of the National Park, the Cambus O’May Cheese Company combines traditional methods and business savvy. Rachel Devine follows the scent

Settled in the Park since 2010, Cambus O’May has grown from a respectable local producer to winner of a gold medal at last year’s British Cheese Awards. The secret of its success is unpasteurised milk and the pull of tradition. Founder Alex Reid raided his grandmother’s recipe book to revive the cheeses of his youth, one made from a mix of the curds of the morning with evening milk, and prepared in the traditional farmhouse style.

Raw milk cheeses have distinctive flavours and textures not usually found in uninspiring, mass-produced cheeses. The company’s flagship cheese, Cambus O’May, is an unpasteurised, cheddar-style cheese, with a mellow, well-balanced flavour that changes subtly with the seasons. The Lairig Ghru (pronounced Lari-groo and named after the famous Cairngorms mountain pass) is a moist, tangy cheese with a crumbly consistency, while the sharp and creamy Lochnagar makes a good accompaniment for wine and whisky. The company has recently launched a smoked cheese and plans are in the pipeline for a blue cheese later in the year.

The recipes and methods remain more or less the same as they were in the 1950s, even if the technology has moved with the times. ‘It’s really down to traditional methods and recipes combined with modern scientific techniques to maintain quality and consistency across the board,’ says Ian Wilson, general manager at Cambus O’May. ‘We have seventh generation Reids working at the creamery – we are very proud of the history and tradition and I think that’s part of what makes it special.’

The purpose-built cheese-making facility and small dairy farm is right beside the walking route between Ballater and Cambus O’May, a sleepy trail that winds through forests of thickly scented Scots pine. Famished walkers can pop in for some cheese and wine and to watch the cheesemakers at work.

‘It’s a cracking place to go to work,’ says Wilson. ‘We work very closely with the Park to promote tourism and we really value the opportunity to invite people in to see what goes in to making our cheese. We have big plans for the future – we are really only getting started.’

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