Apatha - Sweet, floral Goat version of St James - £3.99/100g

Regular price £4.87

Tax included.

Martin Gott cut his teeth making cheese for Graham Kirkham, where he made Lancashire, and Mary Holbrook, Britain’s pioneering goats’ cheese-maker, where he helped make soft, hard and washed-rind goats’ cheeses.

In 2006 Martin and his partner Nicola returned to Cumbria to set up by themselves. For many years they have farmed a small parcel of land in South Cumbria, farming 150 sheep and making cheese.  Their most popular creation is St James which is a washed-rind cheese that quickly has become a modern classic.  It was named after famous cheese-maker James Aldridge (pioneer of washed-rind cheeses in Britain) because the cheese is a washed-rind cheese (like the greats of Epoisses, Stinking Bishop, Munster and Livarot), which involves washing the rind of the cheese to develop orange-tint bacteria on the rind which in turn produces rich, savoury flavours.

Martin and Nicola use a non-intensive method of farming: their animals graze the rich fields of the Holker Estate Farm and are only milked once a day, making for a less-stressed animal and a better-quality milk.  The cheese is made naturally using homemade starter cultures, to truly capture their terroir.

The coronavirus pandemic caused many farmhouse cheese-makers to struggle to sell cheese through normal routes.  One of these was the brilliant Innes goats’ cheese-makers in Staffordshire, who decided as a result to retire.  Martin and Nicola decided to take on their herd of goats (which had been bred for 30 years to produce fabulously rich and good quality raw milk for cheese-making) and move them up to Cumbria.  Overnight they had to develop a cheese to go alongside their sheep’s milk cheeses.  Initially starting with hard goats’ cheese due to the impact of the pandemic (hard cheeses are more stable, so are not as time-sensitive), in late 2020 they decided to make few trial batches of Apatha, a goats’ version of their famous St James.

After initially toying with the name St Jane, and then Lady Jane they settled on the Apatha, named after a wood bordering their land.  It also means ‘the wrong path’, which they thought was apt, because they’d decided many years ago never to make another washed-rind cheese (unpasteurised versions are fraught with problems and very difficult to make)… yet they have!

Please note: Apatha is made on a very small scale and that means batches will vary in flavour and texture (from soft and oozing, to firm and chalky).