A-whey-zing Cheese Festival

We were excited to host our very first Cheese Festival here at The Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre, on 23rd & 24th September, in partnership with Yorkshire Dales National Park – and what an event it was!

The festival marquee was a showcase of local produce, including a number of Yorkshire cheese-makers as well as chutneys, beers, gins, chocolate, artisan bread and more. A veritable feast of Yorkshire delights that visitors enjoyed sampling, exploring and taking home!

A full programme of workshops and demonstrations gave visitors a real insight into the history of cheese, how to cook with it, how it’s made, what to pair it with, and just how versatile it is – cheese with chocolate anyone?!

Our popular Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese-making demonstrations were a hit, with people fascinated to see eight pints of milk turned into a 500g Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese in just 40 minutes – led by our witty experts whose jokes are at times, more cheesy than the finished product!

Our handcrafted cheeses were turned into an array of mouth-watering dishes by local chefs; Tristan Prudden from Constable Burton Estate, Paul Richardson-Mackie from The Garden Rooms at Tennants and Guy Fairhurst from Fairhurst Catering.

Razan Alsous, owner of Yorkshire Dama Cheese, wowed visitors with a cookery demonstration using her “squeaky cheese”, and an insight into her fascinating story – from Syrian refugee to making cheese in Yorkshire.

Cheese tasting workshops gave visitors the opportunity to taste a variety of our award-winning cheeses, and learn about the different flavours, aromas, textures, and the different techniques we use in our cheese-making and maturation process, to give these cheeses their unique characteristics.

Cheese should be enjoyed in so many more ways than just on a board or in a sandwich! We worked with Inspired Chocolate, Seasons Bakery, Sloemotion Gin, Hambleton Ales, Rosebud Preserves, and our own Visitor Centre Chef, to pair our cheeses with different chocolate, bread, gin, beer, chutney and oat cakes. On paper some of the combinations raised a few eyebrows, but the proof was in the tasting!

We ran interactive cheese grading and butter-making demonstrations across both days; many visitors tried their hand with varying degrees of success, but plenty of good fun!

In addition to all the cheesy fun, there was the opportunity to see baby calves, learn about the National Parks Red Squirrel Trail, enter a “design a label” colouring competition, plus barbecue, Brymor Ice Cream van and bouncy castle.

It was a great weekend, and we’ve had some fantastic feedback from visitors and exhibitors alike. Watch this space, as we’re putting plans in place for next year’s event!

Images courtesy of Yorkshire Dales National Park, taken by Stephen Garner.

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