THE WENSLEYDALE CREAMERY: Get Ready for The British Cheese Weekender

One of the UK’s leading independent dairies, the Wensleydale Creamery, based at Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales, has joined forces with Britain’s specialist cheesemakers to help shoppers connect with local producers and independent retailers as part of the British Cheese Weekender (8th – 10th  May).

This first-of-its-kind collaborative project is being led by the Specialist Cheesemakers Association (SCA), Academy of Cheese and the Guild of Fine Food, bringing together cheesemakers from across the country to encourage shoppers to support the sustainability of local and specialist cheesemaking at this time.

Taking place over the May Bank Holiday weekend (8-10 May), the British Cheese Weekender will encourage shoppers to enjoy the best cheeses from around the UK, alongside a three-day schedule of free online pairings and tastings.

Specialist cheesemaker Wensleydale Creamery, who handcrafts the creamy, crumbly classic Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese using milk from local family farms, is launching a special British Cheese Weekender Deli Box. Available to order from Saturday 2nd May, it celebrates award-winning, artisan cheese from the Wensleydale Creamery, as well as championing local food producers from in and around Yorkshire. Featuring are speciality cheeses such as Kit Calvert Old-style Wensleydale, Wensleydale Blue, Yorkshire Wensleydale, plus Yorkshire Cheddar, and a firm favourite at its Cheese Shop, Yorkshire Wensleydale & Ginger. They’ve been paired with specially selected accompaniments, including chutney, fruitcake & oatcakes.

Joining a line-up of respected British cheesemakers, the Wensleydale Creamery will be delivering an online tutorial, led by top Cheese Expert, Phil Jones at 4.30pm on Sunday 10th May. Viewers can sample cheese from the Deli Box alongside Phil as he ‘grades’ (cheese terminology for checking the cheese) and tastes a mouth-watering selection of cheese – explaining how a Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese is uniquely different from Yorkshire Cheddar and what makes the Kit Calvert Old-style Wensleydale and Wensleydale Blue so special. He will share the secrets to grading an award-winning cheese and advise on how to best pair cheese with other accompaniments.

Commenting on the British Cheese Weekender, Tracey Colley, director of the Academy of Cheese, said: “We’re lining up a series of virtual masterclasses over the weekend, hosted by top cheese experts, so that people can tune in and learn more about cheese as they taste along at home. We’ll be covering topics from how to be a cheese judge to drinks pairings and storage tips.”

The industry has been quick to respond to the current crisis with cheesemakers, cheesemongers, farm shops and delis rapidly pivoting their businesses to be able to sell cheese online. Recognising that customers are unable to travel to its popular Visitor Centre, the Wensleydale Creamery launched a new ‘Online Deli’ section on its website. Along with its comprehensive range of favourite Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, the Online Deli also features Old Roan cheese by local Wensleydale farmhouse cheese-maker, The Home Farmer, and a large selection of local produce from crackers, chutneys and oils to biscuits, fruitcake, sweets and chocolate.

Sandra Bell at the Wensleydale Creamery explains; “We are privileged to come together with specialist cheese-makers across the UK to celebrate and highlight artisan cheese-makers and traditional cheese-making skills in Britain. We’re fortunate to have exceptionally skilled specialists handcrafting quality cheese up and down the country who are reliant upon consumers’ support during this time, many of whom weren’t available online previously. We hope that by supporting the British Cheese Weekender, we can ignite people’s appreciation for specialist cheese and encourage as many shoppers as possible to support local and help sustain those businesses who have been impacted by the current situation.”

Best-selling author Ned Palmer will also be delivering the history of British Cheese in 30 minutes as part of the British Cheese Weekender events. In his acclaimed book, A Cheese Mongers History of the British Isles, Ned explored the fascinating history behind Kit Calvert, the ‘father of Wensleydale cheese’, who helped to save Wensleydale Creamery from closure in 1935. The Creamery’s Kit Calvert Old-style Wensleydale is a cheese with significant heritage, named in honour of Kit Calvert and produced using a unique recipe emulating cheese made in farmhouses during the early 20th century.

The Wensleydale Creamery tutorial will take place on Sunday 10th May at 4:30pm via The Big Cheese Weekender Deli Box is available to purchase here.

Find out more about the British Cheese Weekender, as well as look up local cheesemakers and shops selling farmhouse and specialist cheese here.

You can interact with the initiative on social media channels using the following hashtags: #SupportSmallCheesemakers #BritishCheeseWeekender


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