The UK has won a bid to host the UK’s first cheese festival next year, after beating off stiff competition from across Europe.
The cheesemakers who produced the winning entries will go on to represent Britain in the World Cheese Awards’ Europe Cheese Summit, which is held in New York every two years.
The summit’s organisers said the visit would be “a huge boost” for the UK economy, creating more than 1,500 jobs during the three-day event, which starts on 11 May 2021.
The winning cheeses will go on sale in Dairy Week, the industry’s flagship event in March, where there will be opportunities for cheese-lovers to buy them and discover how the UK’s best cheese is made.
The 10 winning cheeses in the Britpreneur cheese taste-off. Photograph: Britpreneur
The cheeses made to win the accolade are all classic British, but also include Scotland’s world-beating Savoy Black from Dumfries and Galloway, the king of feta and woodruff from Co Donegal in Ireland, and West Wiltshire’s milky Fensley Fettle from the Fens.
The summit will also showcase pastries and baked goods from the UK, and is an “important opportunity to give our rich food and drink heritage the global profile and exposure it deserves”, said Lisa Machir, editor of Great Taste, the journal of the British industry which sponsored the UK bid.
The summit will be the first time the UK has hosted the cheese awards, which combine the standards and expertise of the World Cheese Awards with the prestige of the World Cheesemakers Union.
“Cheese is a quintessentially British product that has a distinguished worldwide reputation,” the pavilion’s founder, Bryan Berndt, said. “The Britpreneur cheese programme, underpinned by the World Cheese Awards, will introduce UK cheesemakers to the international stage and not only creates a new source of income for them, but also creates a growing network of partners who can help them to export their work.”
Julia Swann of Dairy Week said: “The British food and drink industry is getting bigger and bigger, exporting and developing, and showcasing British food products – amazing original fare – is the perfect way for us to showcase all we have to offer.
“The growth in UK cheesemaking will be further supported by the money and expertise the summit provides, and these great cheeses will be a huge boost to our economy and make Dairy Week really something special.”
In 2016, the cheese summit featured the Grand Prochevre and White Horse cheeses, which both won gold medals. It also saw Bell’s Cheese win the National Curlteau title.
The slogan for the summit, “what started with great cream evolved into amazing tastes”, references the chevre craze that reached its zenith in the 1990s, said Wayne George, chairman of the summit’s sponsors, Britpreneur.