Which is better pasteurised or unpasteurised cheese?

The unpasteurised vs. pasteurised conversation is one that includes science, history and controversy, but when it comes right down to it, personal preference is what is most important.

If a cheese is made with unpasteurised milk, it means it’s made from milk which is collected and at some point transferred directly to the cheesemaking vat.  If instead it’s made from pasteurised milk, it means there’s an additional step between the collection and the vat where the milk is heated to a specific high temperature for a certain amount of time.  The purpose of pasteurisation is to ensure the safety of the cheeses.

Is unpasteurised cheese therefore dangerous?  No, but unpasteurised milk and dairy products can carry a potential risk to consumers if they contain harmful bacterial pathogens, and since these bacteria are susceptible to heat, treating the milk to heat prior to cheesemaking can basically ensure that none of those harmful bacteria are present in the cheese.

So why doesn’t all milk get pasteurised?  Well, there are definitely reasons why a cheesemaker would opt to use unpasteurised milk instead, and these include cheese quality and consistency. It’s important to note here that cheesemakers get a choice as to how they provide safety to consumers. The vast majority of those illnesses preceding pasteurisation were due to consuming unpasteurised milk, not cheese made from unpasteurised milk, which is not the same thing. Another reason why some cheesemakers opt for unpasteurised milk and why some consumers opt to purchase unpasteurised milk cheeses, is for the potential nutritional benefits that come from unpasteurised products.  While the potentially harmful bacteria get destroyed during pasteurisation, so also do some of the theoretically good bacteria, along with some vitamins and minerals.  Of course, this isn’t to say that pasteurised milk cheeses aren’t nutritious – they certainly are.  They just don’t have quite as much of the good stuff as the unpasteurised milk cheeses.

Which brings us to the last, and perhaps most important, point of all: personal preference.  You could read all the science and history behind pasteurised vs. unpasteurised cheese (and trust us, there’s a lot out there) but when it comes down to it, you might just decide that following your inclination would be best. You might find that more of the cheeses you prefer are made with pasteurised milk… or alternatively unpasteurised… or you like (or even dislike) some of each…

Whatever you decide, we’ll have something for you to enjoy.

Can I eat cheese if I’m pregnant

The easy answer to this is yes but there are some risks associated with all dairy products. We always advise our customers to talk to their heath visitor or doctor and then make up their own minds. There is lots of information available on the NHS website (http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/foods-to-avoid-pregnant.aspx#cheese)

I’m lactose intolerant, can I eat any cheese?

If you suffer from a lactose intolerance it is always best to consult with your doctor or nutritionist before eating cheese. Some of our customers find that they can eat our ewes’ or goats’ milk cheeses but everyone is different. There are some vegan cheeses available but we tend not to keep them in stock as we are limited on our fridge space. We can always source them for you if you have a specific need.

I have a nut allergy, are your cheeses safe?

The vast majority of our cheeses only contain one allergen which is milk! However we do stock two cheeses which contain nuts. Our Tomme des Croquants is washed in a walnut liqueur and comes with a nut warning. It is a cheese that we cut in the shop but we use a separate cheese wire and board when dealing with it so there is no risk of any cross contamination. The other cheese is one called Rambol. This is a soft cheese that is infused with walnuts and it has a whole walnut on the top of it. This comes into us in a pre-packed state and so is never handled in the shop.

There is a cheese that I can’t find on your website, can you get it?

Yes! We have a limited amount of cold storage space so each and every cheese that we stock has to earn it’s place in our cheese counter. There are many wonderful cheeses out there that we would love to be able to bring to our customers but we simply don’t have the capacity to do so. We will do everything we can to source a particular favourite for any of our customers so please get in touch with us.