In Scotland, the old cheeses were named after the nearest town or region, and Anster is the old name for Anstruther, still used by older generations to this day. It is entirely made by the old methods with the milk of cows traditional to the region, and would at one time have been made by several producers.
Nowadays, only one producer in Fife still produces this traditional farmhouse cheese, using the family’s closed herd of heritage cows, all bred on their farm. It is the only Fife Farmhouse cheese where there would have been hundreds in the past.
Jane, the producer, has revived the production using local knowledge and this is directly reflected in the oral views of the local community.
Anster is a slightly crumbly, tangy, creamy white cheese. In Scotland cheesemaking would have been an everyday event on crofts across the land but thanks to clearances they were decimated. After two world wars, small-scale cheese production virtually vanished. In our current food climate, processing, conformity, capacity and consistency are buzz words often used in our industrialization of foods, yet in the world of cheese this can take the very soul from the product. Many have opted for commercial reasons (such as for vegetarians) to use vegetarian rennet, and many have made a decision to use pasteurized milk. Anster cheese is entirely natural and made on a small artisan scale.