OH MY GOUDA!

Written by root. Posted in FEATURES

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Published on March 09, 2018 with No Comments

The best edible British souvenir.

Words EMMA RAMSAY
Images VISIT BRITAIN

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Young Buck, Miles’ Fancy Cheese. Credit(s): Visit Britain

 

Last year, the world’s best cheese was announced as the British Cornish Kern. It wasn’t so much the excitement of having the English going one up against their French neighbour (finally!), but the award deservingly puts the spotlight on one of UK’s greatest and treasured artisanal produce. Britain produces over 700 varieties of cheese and unbeknownst to many, 14 of those have a protected status of origin. That’s why British cheeses will be celebrated at the Big Cheese Festival at Brighton Racecourse this March. From smooth bries to vintage cheddars, the nation’s cheeses are as diverse as the regions they come from. The event will feature a plethora of the finest international cheesemakers and mongers showcasing their amazing cheeses. From Halloumi Fries to Mozzarella Sticks, Raclette or Fondue, vendors will be on hand to turn the finest fromage into melted gooey delights. For the more experienced and mature lovers of cheese, expect a selection of the UK’s finest artisan cheeses, homemade chutney combinations and an extensive offering of utensils available for sale.

Can’t make your way to Brighton? Here’s where you can try some of the tastiest cheeses and go beyond the traditional Cheddar and Stilton.

Start your cheese adventure in London at The Cheese Bar in Camden. Here, visitors can try the UK’s best artisan cheeses on carefully curated cheeseboards featuring everything from the crumbly Dorset Blue Vinny to the craft cheese, Lincolnshire Poacher. Fondue evenings are also held on Thursdays from November to February. Somerset’s rich pastures make it the epicentre for foodies and home to England’s most famous cheese. The town of Cheddar was the hub of the country’s dairy industry from as early as the 12th century. Take a self-guided tour at The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company to discover the traditional art of cheddar-making. You can also visit Cheddar Gorge and Caves, where the unique cave-aged variety of cheese is matured.

If you happen to be in Gloucester during the Spring Bank Holiday, you can join the thousands who climb Cooper’s Hill in the village of Brockworth for the wacky Cheese Rolling and Wake Festival. Every year, a 3.5kg round of firm Double Gloucester is rolled down the steep hill reaching speeds of up to 112 km/h with contestants ambitiously attempting to catch it. The festival started back in the 1800s for locals, but today, the races attract participants from Canada, France, Spain and Japan. And of course, there are plenty of opportunities to try a variety of Gloucestershire cheeses.

Originally produced as a sustaining and convenient lunch for local miners, Caerphilly cheese in Caerphilly, Wales has a rich history. Today, South Caernarfon Creameries is the only remaining Welsh producer of this mild, hard, crumbly cheese. Their award-winning Cavern Cheddar is matured in the same Llechwedd Slate Caverns where the miners worked and where you can take a tour. Wales is famed for its food events including The Big Cheese festival at Caerphilly Castle where every July, over 80,000 visitors arrive to indulge in Welsh cheese and produce, and participate in the cheese-carrying relay race.

Wensleydale in the north of Hawes is where you can discover the home of Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, where the original recipe has been handmade for centuries. Today, there are numerous blends to tantalise your tastebuds. Book a class to learn how the cheese is made at Wensleydale Creamery, then explore where it all began at Jervaulx Abbey where it was crafted by French monks in the 12th century using sheep’s milk. In Northern Ireland, Mike’s Fancy Cheese in County Down was launched in 2013 as part of a crowdfunding campaign by former cheese-making student Michael Thomson. After learning from the UK’s leading artisans, he developed Northern Ireland’s first raw milk blue cheese, Young Buck, a rich, creamy cheese that resembles the very best Stilton. Thomson was a finalist for best new cheese producer at the Great British Cheese Awards 2017.

And what about that recently-crowned Cornish Kern? Well, this dark-rind, cow-milk Cornish cheese from the Southwest of England produced by Lynher Dairies wowed the judges with its “buttery caramel notes and deep savoury aroma”. One thing’s for sure, Britain is experiencing its best dairy deluge ever.

 

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