Raw Milk

Martin Orbach

Milk. We consume loads of it but what do we really know about it?

Supermarket milk is sold mainly on a colour-coded basis. Red, green or blue?  No branding, no provenance. In fact no information at all beyond the fat level.

This is a great situation for the retailers but it leaves the suppliers disconnected from their customers  and, of course, disempowered.

Milk farmers are barely getting the cost of production for their milk and their numbers are steadily dwindling. It’s high time that we stopped thinking of  milk as a low value ‘commodity’ and started to appreciate – and pay for – quality.

But what is quality? That’s the question we aim to get to grips with in Raw Milk – a tutored tasting devoted to the white stuff.

We will be asking what difference does the breed make? You will get to compare milk from Friesian-Holsteins – the familiar black and white cows who produce the vast majority of supermarket milk – with Jersey and Guernsey milk. These are supposedly the premium breeds whose milk has the highest levels of butterfat. Do we like butterfat?

And what difference does processing make? We know milk is pasteurised. More recently it has become homogenised too. What’s that all about? We will compare raw milk;  pasteurised milk; and pasteurised homogenised milk.

And we are going to take a look at cream and butter too, in both raw and pasteurised states.

Subjecting their products to your scrutiny will be Stephen Hook, Dave Paull and John Barron; all dairy farmers who are finding markets for quality. Joining them will be Richard Arnold from Welsh dairy co-op Calon Wen. Calon Wen too are adding value to milk within the highly competitive world of the supermarkets.

Overseeing it all we have Nick Barnard  of Rude Health. To say that Nick is interested milk would be an understatement. He is dangerously obsessed.  For the Raw Milk session he has devised a fiendishly complex and comprehensive points system. There will be blind tasting. There will be votes. And there will be winners.

The Tutored Tasting, ‘Real Milk’ takes place on Saturday 17 September from 11.00am to 12.00noon. Venue: Trinity Hall. Buy tickets online now

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