If anybody is entitled to call himself The Big Cheese, it is Adrian Fowler, the fourteenth generation of his family working at Fowler’s of Earlswood, who have been making cheese since 1670. Still a relatively low-key operation in terms of premises - there are no tours on offer, no heritage centre to visit - Fowler’s nonetheless produces twenty textures and flavours, with maturation ranging from four weeks to four years, with all cheeses made with pasteurized milk from the farm next door. They are sold in the Midlands, but you won’t find them elsewhere.
Tasting our way through the Fowler’s cellars for this hamper, we chose the Warwickshire Vintage Clothbound, a hard-pressed cheese, calico clothbound and naturally-rinded. With a hard and fractured texture, a sweet nutty aroma, a strong complex farmhouse flavour and seasonal colour variation, it offers a strong and old-fashioned taste which we loved alongside our runner bean chutney. A perfect choice for a ploughman’s board if ever we saw one.