Everyone has probably heard of, or seen the Northumberland Cheese Company’s cheese – be it at the Quayside market, on any decently sourced menu throughout the region, or even eaten the raw and delicious product by itself – but who knew they had a teeny shop right at their dairy farm (NE13 6BZ)?
Visitors can arrange a tour of the dairy, though once you’ve seen one vat of milk churning, perhaps you’ve seen them all. Just upstairs, however, hides an almost treehouse-like cafe, where you can buy the cheese direct from the source to take home, in big gift packs, enjoy in a sandwich, or as we have here, melted and drizzled onto everything!
The melted cheese platter (Kielder Cheesy Dip) is about £15 and comfortably feeds two, though there is a “for four” option. In it they use one of our favourites – Kielder, presumably due to it’s melty qualities, and a good sized wedge of it at that! It comes with your usual fondue accompaniments like celery and nachos, as well as apple and some beautifully ripe pear. Also present are some tomatoes and bell peppers – dare you to try and pretend it’s healthy! It also comes with a bread roll, and a side dish of sort of a cheese coleslaw/mayonnaise, which is nice enough – but we’re venturing into cheese overload here (or you can’t get too much of a good thing?!)
The cheese, as you’d expect, is gorgeous, especially oozing and smothered on bread or nachos. Unfortunately, the cheese is melted and then not kept warm, so after about 15 minutes we ended up with what can only be described as a cheese blob – awkward to eat and not the best to enjoy such a good cheese.
Gobble it up fast enough though, and with a couple of cuppas (included with dip), you have a winner. Also available in the tea room are some good looking cheese scones, as well as croque-monsieur, cheese soup, and well, any other cheese related dish you can probably imagine.
A different way to check out something you’ve had tens of times, but probably not direct from the source. Definitely worth a visit, and while you’re there, check out its foodie companion, the Blagdon Farm Shop just down the road.