Connecting with the terroir

I was online the other day as most of us are, and a question came up about what type of British cheese is your favourite, in the American Women in the UK FB group. There was significant vote for Cornish Yarg, Wensleydale and even some Shamembert (yep, vegan Camembert). People (including me) also mentioned blue cheese (Beauvale) even though the original poster said she’s not really interested in blue.

Wyfe of Bath, Snowdonia’s Green Thunder, Caerphilly, the Daylesford Organic Adlestrop Cheese also made it into the thread. Tunworth, Red Leicester, Stilton, y Fenni… It was a good combination of the supermarket shelves and farm shop/direct brands, I thought. Neal’s Yard Dairy also got a mention.

It was heartening to see that even though veganism is making a push this month, people still want to eat real cheese, and people are eating and promoting their local cheeses. It reminds me that people such as Gary and Rachel Bradshaw in Northamptonshire, with their Hamm Tun operation, are right to believe in the local population and in the generosity of people further afield.

Rather happily, the crowdfunding campaign has been a success, the Northampton Chronicle & Echo reports, and the pair are making cheese again this month, starting today (18 January). Hamm Tun Fine’s cheeses include Cobblers Nibble cheddar, Northamptonshire Blue and county favourite Little Bertie. Cheese making continues in Northampton county, hooray!

Cheese in the UK is a terroir experience and this pandemic has perhaps made us more aware of the people down the block, making cheese and other artisanal goodies. These are the folks making the rural and smaller economies go, and we have to support them, no matter what happens outside the borders.

In other news, I was watching Greg Wallace and friends yomp about in Yeo Valley’s supplying farms and yogurt facility in Somerset, on Inside the Factory on BBC. (Series 6, episode 3). As he oohed and ahhed over the various steps to make the yogurts we all know and love (the UK eats 500,000 tons of yogurt per year), it made me a bit nostalgic for a real-life site visit, putting on the hair nets and white coats.

Of course, he loved the part with the cows best, he admitted at the end. Don’t we all? It comes down to terroir, no matter what your dairy product is.

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