In an industrial site flanked by fields on the outskirts of north London an unassuming pushback to mass produced food is taking place. Tired of working hard for little reward in London's creative industry, half-English, half-Cypriot Londoner, Anthony Heard, made a decision five years ago to pursue his passion for cheese.
Armed with an ambition to update the halloumi, feta and anari recipes used by his grandmother, Anthony wanted to create cheeses that were a blend of old and new, Cypriot and British. His research took him back to Paphos in Cyprus but also to a deli in Haringey, owned by a Cypriot who used to make typical cheeses back in the 50s and 60s. "I asked him what he thought and he said it was absolutely beautiful, bravo, all these Cypriot accolades. I thought, OK, let's just do it. If you start a business, you've got to crack on."
And so – named in reference to his ancestral island (an image of which is tattooed on his forearm) – the Kupros Dairy was born. Using milk from a farm in Lancashire, and the time-honoured techniques that his grandmother once favoured, Anthony created a duo of cheeses he's called Anglum and London Fettle. Two cheese which just happened to win silver and bronze respectively at the World Cheese Awards last year.
Though Kupros' location — a stark white space with gleaming metal contraptions — couldn't be more different to the sun-warmed kitchens of Cyprus, the procedures Anthony is using remain the same as his grandmother's. Even the scale is not dissimilar: where his Mediterranean forebears would have used 200-300-litre cauldrons, he is working with a 500-litre vat.
The only difference between then and now, he says, is that he uses plastic cheese baskets instead of the traditional woven wicker ones due to regulatory requirements. And, like his grandmother before him, he only uses raw milk and no added bacterial culture, relying on the purity of the milk and its microflora for its buttery flavour.
In his quiet manner, Anthony is making a positive change in the food industry: revitalising an ailing practice, creating tasty yet accessibly priced products, taking care of his staff, and, as he puts it, attempting to "un-skew" the food chain.
His melding of an age-old Cypriot method, British produce, and London workshop strikes him as entirely apposite: "British food isn't British without everybody else's influences. That is what British food is. Us being able to come in, take a traditional process from a different country and recontextualise it in a modern British way — it makes absolute sense here in London."
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