Six places to sample Britain’s best cheeses
Did you know Britain produces over 700 varieties of cheese? And that 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 coming March.
From smooth bries to vintage cheddars, the nation’s cheeses are as diverse as the regions they come from. Here’s where you can try some of the tastiest.
First-time visitors to Britain can start their cheese adventure at The Cheese Bar in Camden where they 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, with a special pairing of crisp Alpine wines.
Thanks to its rich pastures, Somerset is an 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.
Each year, thousands climb Cooper’s Hill in the village of Brockworth near Gloucester for the wacky Cheese Rolling and Wake Festival where every Spring Bank Holiday, a nine-pound round of firm Double Gloucester is rolled down the steep hill at 70 miles per hour 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 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, 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.
Head to north to the town of Hawes to 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 it’s 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.
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. In 2017, he was a finalist for best new cheese producer at the Great British Cheese Awards.
Join in County Down’s lively food and drink scene via a host of fine food tours including Whiskey Club tasting events, food festivals and markets.
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com