This is the most important stage of our cheese production. By allowing cheese to rest and mature in carefully controlled conditions, the cheese develops a unique appearance, texture, flavour and aroma.
Maturing rooms – we have two types of maturing rooms, one room for our traditional hand turned premium cheese, such as the cloth matured cheddars. The second maturing room is where our hand crafted cheese is wrapped in special cheese bags for maturation. The shelves in both maturing rooms are made from wood, this is a traditional cheese making technique that allows the cheese to breathe naturally and facilitates a sanitary surface.
Maturing room one – our premium cheese – Ashgrove Cloth Matured Cheddar, Cloth Matured Rubicon Rd and Mr Bennett’s Blue – requires special attention to enhance and develop their unique earthy characteristics, flavour and texture. These cheeses are matured in an ageing room known as a cave or among our team as the ‘coffin’. This room holds a consistent temperature and must have a natural dampness.
Each week for up to 18 months the cloth cheeses, which are wrapped in a special cheddar cloth bandage, are rubbed down with oil to prevent them drying out and their surfaces cracking. They are then turned by hand to evenly expose the cloth to air. During this ageing process mould spores slowly grow on the surface of the cloth bandage forming a crust around the cheese. Maturing the cheese in a traditional ageing room is how the distinct taste, character and texture in each cheese is developed. You can see our awards here.
Maturing room two – this maturing room can be viewed through the maturing room window at the Ashgrove Cheese factory and store. This is our biggest maturing room and holds our specialised cheese varieties such as bush pepper and young cheddars. The cheeses are placed into special vacuum sealed bags and placed on the wooden shelves.
This maturing room has a different climate control set to achieve a specific result that differs from the ‘cheese cave’. The result is a rindless cheese that has a different taste and a more creamy texture from our traditional cloth aged cheese. We have won many awards for our rindless cheese.