At one time slipcote cheese was made in several places around the country in addition to its current home, notably Rutland , though earlier versions were soft and rich cow's milk cheeses, whereas the cheese from Horsted Keynes is made with sheep's milk. As the process is relatively simple such cheeses would have been made domestically in times past: the milk left overnight once the rennet has been added, then the curds, with a little salt, moulded ready for eating fresh.
Two versions of the name's origin are proposed: one has it that such a soft and lively cheese would often slip its coat (cloth or rind) during production; the other, and as it is what the current makers believe it appears more probably correct, that slip is dialect for little, and cote refers to cottage, as in cottage cheese.
The contemporary slipcote cheese is made from unpasteurised organic sheep's milk, the end product a soft, white, slightly sharp cheese sold in little buttons or logs about six inches long. As well as the plain version herbs, peppercorns and garlic are employed to pep it up, though the plain Sussex slipcote cheese certainly has character.
As sheep's milk is more easily digested and contains far more calcium than cow's milk, this modern version of an ancient style appeals to the health conscious too, and it is still more in keeping with its time in that it is made with vegetarian rennet.
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