For good old-fashioned ‘proper’ cream cheese, look no further than Norton’s Dairy, located in Frettenham, Norfolk. Its seriously tasty St Swithin’s soft cheese recently won a gong in the 2017 British Cheese Awards when the lavender flavour was crowned Best in Category for ‘Flavour Added Cheese’.
The Norton family has farmed at Church Farm in Frettenham since 1946 and tends a small dairy herd of around 70 cows. The cross-breeding of Holstein Friesian and Brown Swiss cows produces robust, good milkers. As a result, Norton’s soft cheese is high quality, sweet and creamy with a slightly crumbly texture. As well as the lavender, Emily Norton makes apricot and strawberry varieties, plus a plain cream cheese that bakers can use to make an outstanding cream cheese frosting. There is a chilli variety, too, which packs a subtle punch. These are far superior to the pale, watery, mass-produced packets of ‘cream cheese’ you find in supermarkets.
Norton’s Dairy also produces unhomogenised milk and, since 2016, a thick, slow-matured natural yoghurt with no added ingredients apart from yoghurt culture, which won a well-deserved bronze medal in the 2017 British Cheese Awards.
Norton’s Dairy products are available via various independent stockists throughout the Broadland area of Norfolk and also at Creake Abbey Farmers’ Market near Fakenham (first Saturday of every month) and at White House PYO in Sprowston, Norwich (third Saturday of every month).
By Tracy Macheta, Norfolk editor