Great British Cheese Festival 2007

Great British Cheese Festival 2007

The annual Great British Cheese Festival will take place on 29th and 30th September 2007 at Millets Farm Centre, Frilford (near Abingdon), Oxfordshire.

Amongst the attractions and entertainment on offer, cheese lovers can taste the 2007 British Cheese Awards winners in the Hall of Champions, visit the biggest cheese market and take part in the ever-popular cheese-tossing. Tickets for the event are priced at £8.50 and can be pre-ordered by calling 0845 241 2046, online at or purchased on the day.

The last 20 years have seen an explosion in the number and diversity of British cheeses, as demonstrated by the record 867 entries into this year’s Cheese Awards, which include celebrity entries Borchester Blue from Helen Archer (Radio 4’s The Archers), and Little Wallop from Alex James (ex-Blur). There are now over 450 unique modern British cheeses, made with cow, goat, sheep and even buffalo milk, and these will be celebrated during British Cheese Week
(1st – 8th October 2007).

Traditional British cheeses tend to be named after the town in which they were first made, and include familiar names such as Red Leicester, Caerphilly and Double Gloucester. These old recipes are now being given a new lease of life by modern cheesemakers, for example Cheddar, originally made around the Cheddar Gorge, is now produced from Devon to Northern Scotland – where the Isle of Mull cheese is seen as a milder alternative to the rich, nutty tang of mature Cheddar.

Similarly, many British blue cheeses had seemed to be all but lost, however in addition to Stilton – production of which is limited to Nottingham, Derbyshire and Leicestershire – notable cheeses such as Blue Vinny, Shropshire Blue and Blue Wensleydale are now being made again. Even in suburban Surrey they’re getting in on the act, with a delicious blue cheese called Norbury Blue, made on a farm just a few miles from Denbies vineyard. The combination of creamy Norbury Blue and Surrey Gold wine from Denbies is a real winner.

The heightened consumer interest in organic produce has also extended to cheese production, with a huge 300% rise in entries of organic cheeses since 1999. Juliet Harbutt, organiser of the British Cheese Awards and the Great British Cheese Festival, said ‘the entries in this year’s Awards serve to demonstrate the wonderful array of British cheeses we produce. They are also constantly evolving – for example more and more are now certified organic – and these days a British cheeseboard is something to be served with pride’.

The British Cheese Awards (trade only) will be held on 28th September 2007, and the Great British Cheese Festival is 29th – 30th September. More information on these events, as well as British cheeses in general, can be found on

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