Say cheese with The Big Cheese Making Kit

Sep 16, 2015
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As a nation of cheese lovers, it might not come as a surprise that in the UK we eat around 600,000 tons of cheese every year – not including fromage frais or cottage cheese – and 98% of households buy it. But how many of us have ever thought about making cheese ourselves? Ailsa Proverbs has, and now she's on a mission to help more people discover how easy it is to make their own cheese at home.

"I thought if you could make yoghurt at home, why couldn’t you make cheese too?" Ailsa says. "I went online, thinking it would be fairly easy if I could get a kit, but there were none. So I decided that if there was no kit available, I'd make one myself!"

And with that, The Big Cheese Making Kit was born. Three years on from Ailsa's eureka moment, her products have gone on to be stocked all over the world with the potential to make eight different varieties of cheese using the kits, some milk and a few simple pieces of kitchen equipment.

"The unique thing about them is that people don't realise they can do it themselves until they see the kits," Ailsa explains. "There's a lot of mystery surrounding cheesemaking; people think it's out of reach but it's actually really simple." Anything specialised, like a dairy thermometer, is included in The Big Cheese Making Kit and all the other equipment you need is at home: even a cheese press can be made using a vase of water. If you need any further convincing, Ailsa notes that with 70,000 kits sold so far, not one person has told her they can't do it.

To Ailsa's surprise, the kits have proved especially popular with people buying gifts for men. "Our cheesemakers are so diverse – we have young students who like the kits as something fun to do at the weekend, and our most active is a retired minister who sends us lots of photos!" says Ailsa. "I can't pinpoint just one kind of person. Lots of people do it with their kids, too – there's a bit of science involved and children love it."

At Holwood Fam, you'll be able to choose between Mozzarella & Ricotta, Goat's Cheese, Scottish Crowdie and Halloumi Kits. You'll also find The Ultimate Cheese Making Kit which contains all the aforementioned varieties plus labneh, queso blanco and paneer and a recipe book to help you use up all your cheese. The most popular is the Mozzarella & Ricotta Kit – perhaps because the cheeses can be ready to eat in under an hour.

With an idea this brilliant (and delicious) it's not difficult to see why Ailsa was presented with an MBE by Prince Charles last year for services to the food industry, an experience she describes as 'surreal'. As a renowned foodie himself, has His Royal Highness tried his hand at cheesemaking? Ailsa laughs: "I offered to do him a good deal on a kit, but so far he hasn't come back to me!"

Recipe: Scottish Cranachan



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