Cardoon thistle is a plant growing all over the Mediterranean from Portugal to Greece and as well as being a food in its own right it is also used to coagulate milk for cheese. It is normally only used on sheep or goat milk where it works in a similar but slightly different way to animal rennet. It produces a bitter floral flavour that is not unpleasant that ages well. It also makes the cheese softer as is typical in the Portuguese and Western Spanish cheeses. The cheese that we make is slightly thermophilic, curdling the milk at 36C and cooking the curd to around 48C. It ages well and has the distinctive cardoon back flavour. Because it is made with a vegetable based rennet it is suitable for vegetarians that do not accept animal rennet.