Crowds converge on Melton for the nation’s biggest cheese fair

656463-02 : �Lionel Heap : News : 2017 Artisan Cheese Fair : Rosea Reynolds with some multi award winning Cornish Jack Cheese. EMN-170205-095025001
656463-02 : �Lionel Heap : News : 2017 Artisan Cheese Fair : Rosea Reynolds with some multi award winning Cornish Jack Cheese. EMN-170205-095025001

A bumper Sunday turnout more than made up for a sluggish attendance the previous day as cheese lovers converged on Melton at the weekend.

They were there for the popular annual Artisan Cheese Fair, which this year gave visitors around 300 different cheeses to sample and buy, at the town’s cattle market.

656463-09 : �Lionel Heap : News : 2017 Artisan Cheese Fair : Howard Lucas with a round of Cropwell Bishop Blue Shropshire. EMN-170205-095132001

656463-09 : �Lionel Heap : News : 2017 Artisan Cheese Fair : Howard Lucas with a round of Cropwell Bishop Blue Shropshire. EMN-170205-095132001

Both exhibitors and attendees came from far and wide to enjoy what is now acknowledged as the UK’s biggest cheese fair.

Organiser Matthew O’Callaghan said: “Saturday was a lower turnout than we usually have but then there were a lot events going on at Easter and it was the same pay day month.

“But Sunday was a bumper day for us. We had visitors from Essex, the West Midlands and a number of people came up from London.”

As well as local producers, artisan cheese-makers came from as far as the West of Ireland, Dumfries in Scotland, Cornwall and the East of England.

656463-13 : �Lionel Heap : News : 2017 Artisan Cheese Fair : Cheese.... Kimberley Selley (11) and Eleanor Wildman (11). EMN-170205-095155001

656463-13 : �Lionel Heap : News : 2017 Artisan Cheese Fair : Cheese.... Kimberley Selley (11) and Eleanor Wildman (11). EMN-170205-095155001

Visitors to the event enjoyed sampling a huge range of cheeses being sold by exhibitors.

“The cheese-makers find this is a really good time to sell because it’s after the Christmas rush and just before the heavy work begins on producing cheeses for the summer,” said Mr O’Callaghan.

“One of our exhibitors came from the Isle of Mull and he had to use a ferry to bring his cheeses over.

“We also had four Irish cheese-makers and a number of producers from Cornwall and Wales.

“Without doubt, in terms of the variety of cheeses, we now have the biggest cheese fair in the country.”

Visitors also got the chance to buy a range of other produce, such as Melton pork pies, cider, beer, cakes, wine and lots of good things which go well with cheese.

There was also a special cheese theatre with the opportunity to watch talks and demonstrations and experience free tutored tastings, including ‘wines with cheese’, and ‘Irish farmhouse cheeses’.

One of the most popular displays in the theatre was given by 2013 Great British Bake Off winner, Frances Quinn.

Entertainment was provided by Melstrum Ukulele Band, morris dancers and the EAGA Gospel Choir, who were runners-up in the Gareth’s Best Choir television series.