As the International Cheese Awards kick off today and continues tomorrow, we’ve been thinking about the many awards our products and their producers have won over the years. From the South West based Taste of the West to the British Cheese Awards and even international accolades we are so lucky to have some of the best food the UK has to offer right here on our doorstep!
Waterhouse Fayre have been winners at the annual Taste of the West Awards for a number of years. Their signature strawberry jam has been a double Gold award winner and this year their blackcurrant and raspberry jams both won Silver, while their new turmeric and Somerset cider & apple chutneys both showcased with Gold. Ann Stallard established Waterhouse Fayre back in 2004 and since then the company has grown and morphed into a recognisable Devon brand. Her intriguing mix of flavours and balance of new and traditional means that there is always something new to discover.
Lynher Dairies has been a regular face at cheese awards up and down the country and this year their Cornish Yarg won Gold at the British Cheese Awards and the Wild Garlic variety won Silver. New for this year was their Cornish Kern which was internationally recognised at the World Cheese Awards being named Supreme Champion. Based in Ponsanooth, Cornwall this small artisan dairy is one of the most successful of its kind in the country.
Chunk of Devon are also no stranger to awards with over 100 going to their pies, pasties and savories – in 2009 their Steak pasty even won Best Cornish Pasty at the British Pie Awards! From Taste of the West alone this year they won Gold for their Venison & Port pie, Steak pasty, Homity pie, Chicken, Mushroom & Tarragon pie and Squealer Pork pie. Their melt in the mouth, buttery pastry and use of locally sourced ingredients wherever possible ensures a great Devonian product. This year they have also launched a vegan friendly pasty made using wholemeal flour and a pea glaze with delicious roasted vegetables, there is something for everyone to enjoy!
Cornish Olive Stall olives have become bestsellers since we started stocking them last year. A small, family run business based in St Austell they have sourced the best olives from around the world and combined them with delicious homemade marinades to create mouth-wateringly good flavours. The judges at this years Taste of the West certainly thought so with the Garlic & Rosemary winning Gold and Basil Pesto olives winning Silver awards respectively. With so many great flavours available and even simple Pitted Green for you to experiment on your own, these olives are certainly worthy of their awards!
The vast number of awards going to these local producers is testament to their hard work, dedication and passion. Congratulations to you all!
Next to Stilton, Cheddar is one of the UK’s favourite cheeses with a history dating back to the 12th century and King Henry II and Daniel Defoe among its high profile supporters; the former claiming it to be the best in Britain and the latter dedicating a whole chapter to this famous cheese in his book ‘A Tour of the Islands of Great Britain’.
Originating in Somerset and taking its name from the village of Cheddar and Cheddar Gorge where it was once matured within the natural caves, this cheese is as popular today as ever. However today Cheddar is no longer only made in Somerset but all over the world resulting in a cheese that varies considerably in texture, flavour and appearance.
In 1996 Westcountry Farmhouse Cheddar was given Protected Designation of Origin status, meaning that it could only be made in the counties of Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. It must also be made to traditional methods such as ‘cheddaring’ where the whey is drained and the curds are stacked together, this is repeated and when matured the cheese will have a dense, crumbly texture. It must be made using locally sourced milk from the makers own farm and should be matured for at least nine months. These strict rules ensure that traditional farmhouse Cheddar remains just that.
During, and for some time after World War II the production of most cheeses was banned by the government due to shortages and rationing. One cheese, nicknamed ‘Government Cheddar’ was permitted, a standardised, bland and tasteless cheese but made in vast quantities to preserve milk. The effect of this was not realised until rationing was lifted in 1954, 3,400 cheese producers had shut down and it was thought that the art of making cheeses had been lost. Luckily for us this was not the case and artisan cheesemakers started to spring up around the country, creating cheddars that reflected the land, the season and the passion of their makers.
We stock a wide range of Cheddar cheeses including Barbers Farmhouse, Taw Valley and Quicke’s Traditional. Try some today and fall in love with cheddar again.
The sun is out and summer is finally here! What better time to enjoy some fresh, summer cheeses out in the garden than on these warm, light evenings? We’ve listed a few of our favourites below.
Our first choice is a staple of summer, Feta is strong and rich in salty flavours and will instantly transport you to a sun drenched beachside taverna. Protected Designation of Origin means Feta can only be produced in Greece and is believed to have originated from nomadic tribes who needed to preserve the milk of their goats and sheep. Drizzle with a little olive oil and pair with some olives and sundried tomatoes or honey and fresh rosemary for instant summer feels.
We know the blues are normally winter domain but this Cornish Blue from the Cornish Cheese Co. is a delicious exception. Made on the edge of Bodmin Moor using locally sourced milk this is vastly different from traditional blue cheeses. Mild and creamy with a gentle sweetness, it is designed to be eaten young and is perfect with honey, almonds and fresh crusty bread.
We think the new Quicke’s Traditional Elderflower cheddar is a real summer treat. Matured for up to six months by expert cheesemakers in Newton St Cyres, Devon, this is a fresh, buttery cheddar with delicate hints of elderflower. Try it with some good quality biscuits or crackers and a crisp white and you’ll be in summer heaven.
A soft cheese alternative is the Le Roule from the Vosges region of France which is made using pasteurised cows milk and easily recognisable because of its distinctive herb swirl. Fresh and creamy garlic and herb flavours and a smooth texture make this a deliciously light summer treat. Best enjoyed spread on fresh, crusty bread or even as a savory breakfast.
Treat yourself this summer and enjoy the delights of these light, fresh cheeses.