A very royal appointment….in 2015 we welcomed HRH The Prince of Wales, the Patron of the Specialist Cheese-maker Association to our Wensleydale Creamery to see the art of traditional cheese-making in the Yorkshire Dales. He saw first-hand how Yorkshire Wensleydale was handcrafted, the traditional art of wrapping cheese in muslin cloth, as well as the art of cheese-grading, where he was presented with his own ‘cheese iron’, the specialist tool that is used to grade (test) and taste cheese. HRH The Prince of Wales was also shown our exclusive cheese maturing room and had the full cheese-making process for our award-winning cheese explained by our Managing Director David Hartley.
The visit marked a significant milestone for cheese-making in Hawes, with our Creamery at the time having recently gained European Protected Food Name Status with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for our internationally renowned Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, and also marking the completion of a major £5 million investment in the development of our new Creamery!
Over the years, we’ve welcomed many other well-known guests from a variety of backgrounds.
Our Creamery has also been the star of a number of TV shows such as the BBC ‘Made in Great Britain’ with presenter Steph McGovern, John Prescott filmed with us for ‘Made in Yorkshire’, and JB Gill spent a day with us behind the scenes, making cheese for the Channel 5 ‘Springtime on the Farm’. Chef Matt Tebbutt discovered how our cheese was made for the Channel 4 ‘Food Unwrapped’ series.
Two well know walking routes pass close by our Creamery in Hawes; DJ Mark Radcliffe presented a BBC Radio 4 programme whilst with us about the popular ‘Pennine Way’ route, and Tony Robinson walked the famous ‘Coast to Coast’ route and popped in for a ‘behind the scenes tour’ to give insight into the workings of our Creamery for the Channel 5 ‘Coast to Coast’ series. The BBC ‘Songs of Praise’ team toured and presented from our Creamery last Summer, and we hosted a couple from the TV show ‘Escape to the Country’, who explored our beautiful surrounding area and spent time with us understanding how our cheese is made, and importantly tasting it too! Most recently, Scott Garthwaite, known as the Punk Chef, visited us to learn about our artisan cheese-making process, and then cooked up some delicious dishes using our cheese from our Visitor Centre garden, for the British Sign Language channel.
These programmes discovered the secrets behind our Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, one of our region’s most iconic foods; diving into the history of how cheese-making in the area has evolved since the monastic times, through to the present day. The programmes followed the process behind cheese-making from the collection of milk from local farmers, learning about the skilled cheese-making operation and finally tasting if before seeing it grace the shelves of retailer shelves across the UK and around the world.
Along with other chefs such as Rosemary Shragger who hosted a ‘ready steady cook’ style event to mark the opening of our extended Visitor Centre in 2010, and Steph Moon who cooked up some fantastic cheese-inspired dishes after visiting, we’ve also opened our doors to ex-England and Yorkshire County Cricket Club players, personalities such as Philip Schofield, and Members of Parliament with the Rt Hon Lord Hague being a huge supporter and fan of our regional delicacy; the food pairing of Yorkshire Wensleydale and Fruit Cake.