Promoting the local cheese

I have spent the last week on the Norfolk Broads and its environs here in the UK, and sampling the cheeses and making a dent in the county’s crab and fruity scones populations. To name just a few we enjoyed and brought home, we had Mrs Temple’s Copy Cloud Cheese, her Binham Blue and Ferndale Farm‘s Smoked Norfolk Dapple, then veered out of the county for some Fen Farm‘s Baron Bigod brie and a bit of Lincolnshire Poacher.

When discussing the variety of cheeses available to us on these British Isles (about 700), people are always amazed at how many options we have. It is one of the joys of travelling in the UK – no matter where you go, there is a local cheese being made and sold, along with usually a decent beer or cider.

However, one of the painful issues is that a lot of people don’t know about them outside the local areas. One recent story about a blue cheese being thrown away by a farm shops buyer because it smelled and had mould on it, just struck me as tragic. If even the folks buying for these retail outlets don’t know what they’re looking at, how is the consumer ever expected to be able to purchase it?

Education up and down the chain is key. Consumers, buyers, media, retailers, processors, all need to do their part to get their cheeses into the right hands. Cheese makers work so hard to produce these delicious products, and have really struggled during this pandemic.

It’s sometimes a bit of a task to get the message out, but we have to keep at it. The cheeses the UK produces are an under-promoted product, and the fact that you can buy everything from a Brie de Meaux type, to buffalo mozzarella to an organic halloumi without ever leaving these islands is something that both domestic and international consumers should know more about.

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