Featuring masterclasses, virtual farm tours and tutored tastings, the line-up for the first ever British Cheese Weekender has been announced, as the UK’s specialist cheese community comes together to urge the public to ‘support small cheesemakers’ during the COVID-19 lockdown. Promising a cheese festival like no other taking place throughout the Early May bank holiday weekend, this three-day online event will have something for everyone, from kids to fully-fledged curd nerds.
Organised by the Specialist Cheesemakers Association (SCA), the Academy of Cheese, the Guild of Fine Food and cheese writer Patrick McGuigan, the British Cheese Weekender will invite cheese lovers to stock up on artisan cheese in the lead-up to the festival, so they can get the full sensory experience. The initiative aims to raise awareness of the crisis that threatens to wipe out the previously thriving speciality cheese industry and help shoppers connect with those selling it, via a brand new directory on the SCA website.
Generating a truckle-load of positivity throughout the cheese world, from speciality cheesemakers to the independents which stock them and the consumers who support them, the festival will be free, fun, educational and downright delicious. The line-up kicks off with a kids’ cheese tasting session presented by Sam Wilkin (AKA Cellarman Sam), with other highlights including farm tours at Fen Farm Dairy in Suffolk and former World Cheese Awards champion, Lynher Dairies in Cornwall, a guided tasting on Instagram Live from Quicke’s in Devon, a behind-the-scenes tour of Neal’s Yard Dairy and a Fondue Night cook-along with The Cheese Bar’s Mathew Carver.
This unprecedented peek behind the rind of artisan cheese will also feature a History of British Cheese in 30 minutes with author and cheesemonger, Ned Palmer, deep dives into pairing, raw milk, sheep’s milk and blue cheese and a Cheese Question Time on Saturday night with some of the country’s top experts. Cheese fans will be able to put their knowledge to the test during Paxton & Whitfield’s Cheese Pub Quiz and the weekend will be signed off with a presentation from the Specialist Cheesemakers Association (SCA), the Academy of Cheese, the Guild of Fine Food and Patrick McGuigan.
Tracey Colley, director of the Academy of Cheese, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to see how many experts from across our industry have wanted to take part in the British Cheese Weekender, from cheesemakers to cheese distributors we now have a multitude of virtual cheese events for everyone to join in with. The Academy of Cheese community of over 2,000 members are busy planning where to buy cheese for the weekend and with so many fantastic artisan cheeses now available for direct delivery they are very excited!”