We were too late to book for lunch, but Delia suggested we have a look round in the afternoon.
She told us they are fully booked for weekend lunches about two months ahead.
With her American husband, Andrew Stirling, Delia came home from the arid lands of Arizona a few years ago to take over the Brown’s family business — the cheese-making business founded by her parents in the much cooler ridges of Tigoni.
You must have seen the name Brown’s. It’s on cheese packets in all the supermarkets.
The little factory in Tigoni makes more varieties of cheese than any cheese makers in Africa: Brie, Camembert, Cheddar, Gouda, Feta, blues, creams .... And they make some very special ones that you can buy only in their own shop — or at their special and intimate lunches at their Tigoni farm.
And that is where we went a week last Friday afternoon.
As we left our office, I said we were off to taste some cheeses. “Would you like us to bring some back,” I asked.
“No thanks,” piped up our young and cocky intern. “I haven’t got a taste for cheeses yet.”
From Lavington, the quickest, quietest way to go was out on Waiyaki Way, along the Great Wall of Kenya, then cutting back under Nakuru Road at the turn-off for the old Naivasha Road and Mai Mahiu.
But there are very precise directions on the website (www.brownscheese.com), so I won’t take up half this piece in telling you how to navigate round the outskirts of Limuru and into Tigoni .... Except to say that you could also reach there via Limuru Road and the turnoff through the matatu-clogged Banana Hill.
But whichever way you go, you will eventually pass through some beautiful countryside.
By either route you will see no Brown’s signposts along the road or even at the gate because you will be welcomed only if you have made a booking.
Delia caters for a few visitors at a time — and her place is already very popular.
It is a delightful farm house, sparkling white up the slope and against the greens of the sheltering trees.
We chatted with Delia at a table set out on the terraced lawn; tasted a small platter of cheeses and drank some coffee.
Delia led us through her lush kitchen garden, where she uses biodynamic and organic techniques to grow an amazingly wide range of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and even edible flowers.
She then showed us round the factory, seeing the stirring of vats, the storing of maturing cheeses, and the packaging for markets.
But, rather than giving you a diary of our afternoon, let me tell you what you yourself can savour if you make the trip to spend an afternoon at the farm.
The fullest-packed option is this .... But let me tell you the price first; it’s Sh3,500 per person for a six-person minimum, or Sh21, 000 minimum cost.
To begin with you will be invited to discover the flavour of eight choices of cheese, including some seasonal ones reserved just for such a group tasting event.
You will take a tour of the factory and be shown how cheese is made. But the highlight (I would suggest) is a three-course lunch, made with 100 per cent homegrown ingredients, at a table set out (if it isn’t raining) on the lawn.
Afterwards, you will be taken on a tour of the vegetable garden.
If you have children with you, they will enjoy looking round the farm with its chickens and bantams (that produce orange-yolked eggs) and cows — a herd of Friesians kept for their rich milk and cream. Finally, you can buy a selection of cheeses to take home — and, if you wish, you can try your hand at Mozzarella making.
The price includes up to three glasses of wine or beer per person. Children under five are free; over five are Sh500; over 12, Sh1,500. And this includes pizza and ice-cream — as well as lunch if they would like some.
John Fox is Managing Director of iDC