Cheese lovers converge on Melton for celebration of artisan producers
The occasion was the 12th annual Artisan Cheese Fair, which was hosted again at The Stockyard on the town livestock market site.
Bright sunshine on both days helped create a carnival atmosphere with dozens of producers from the UK and Ireland showing off their wares.
One of the local cheesemakers in attendance was Arla Foods Tuxford and Tebbutt, based at Thorpe End, with their Blue Stilton and Blue Shropshire proving popular with punters.
Louise Tomley, who was serving on the stand with Jowita Sosnowska, told the Melton Times: “Our challenge is always to persuade people that Stilton can be eaten all year round – not just at Christmas.
“We’ve been advising people on how great our cheeses taste with fruits such as grapes, strawberries, pears and apples.”
There was lots of activity around Long Clawson Dairy’s stand, with their 1912 Artisan Blue Stilton Cheese in big demand.
Senior brand manager, Nicki Matthews, told us: “We used to come to the fair every year but we’ve not been for a few years.
"It’s been busy and it is a great way for us to promote our cheeses and our brands.
“We’ve got the 1912, the Blue Shropshire, Rutland Red and some of our sweet and savoury blends on the stand.”
Several producers travelled a fair distance to attend the fair, including Cheesemakers of Canterbury, which make award-winning Ashmore Farmhouse and Kelly’s Canterbury Goat.
Owner Jane Bowyer said: “We used to do milk deliveries from the farm and decided to move into cheesemaking 16 years ago.
"This cheese fair has been really great for us – people have been really friendly.”
Some of Ireland’s cheesemakers came over the sea to show off their tasty products, including Killeen Farmhouse Cheese, from the Galway area.
They mostly produce a semi-hard cheese, made from pasteurised milk, often using goat’s but also cow’s milk.
Marion Roeleveld, who was born in Holland but who has made her reputation as a top Irish cheesemaker for almost 20 years, told the Melton Times: “This is such a special event in Melton Mowbray.
"People come here and they really want to know about the cheeses and how they are made.”
The Bath Soft Cheese Company produce cheese to a recipe dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries with its Bath Soft having been recommended to Admiral Lord Nelson. Lots of people were sampling it, along with the firm’s Wyfe of Bath, Bath Blue and Merry Wyfe.
Camilla Wharton, who was serving on the stand, said: “The Padfield family have been cheesemakers since 1990 and four generations of the family have been dairy farmers.”
Organiser of the Artisan Cheese Fair, Dr Matthew O’Callaghan OBE, said: ““This was a great celebration of artisan cheese from across the UK and Ireland.
"There has been a renaissance of artisan cheesemaking within the British Isles.
"Our isitors have unique access to the best of this in the one place at the one time without having to travel to the far corners of these islands.”