What a busy week!
On Thursday 22nd I got an e-mail from Juliet Harbutt asking me if I would like to come along to the British Cheese Awards and Judge for the day. How could I have said no! I organised work and then phoned Juliet to accept this very kind invitation, I was so very excited I planned to stay overnight on Monday 26th to ensure I arrived promptly at 9am.The British Cheese Awards are now held within the Cheese pavilion at the Royal Bath & West showground. When looking for a hotel there was only one option and of course being the Cheesy1 the natural place was the Wookey Hole Hotel, set within the natural beauty of Wookey Hole this hotel was perfect and close to lots of cheese! Just a quick side note is that you can read my post on Wookey Hole cheedar here (http://jhbcheesy1.com/2013/08/18/wookey-hole-cave-aged-cheddar-pasteurised-cows-milk-not-vegetarian/). I was already to go hotel booked, information & bag packed I just needed to get through a shift as a Cheese Specialist and then I was on my way. The clock hit 5pm and I was off on the road to Wookey Hole and the drive was lovely, no traffic and the weather although a little miserable cleared by the time I got to Somerset. I arrived at Wookey slightly earlier (Hurray!) so I checked in, booked a table at the restaurant and went to my room:
This photo was taken out of my hotel room window and in the top left hand corner is the cave. I had a very relaxing few hours here and the food in the restaurant was lovely and yes I did have some cheese, I had some deep fried Somerset brie for a starter which was delicious. It was now time to get some rest ready for the morning.
The alarm rings and up I get excited ready for the day ahead and all the cheesiness its going to bring. All fed and watered, packed, checked out and sat nav ready off I went to the Bath & West showground’s. A painless 15mins drive and a 10mins walk to get to the cheese pavilion and I was ready for the fun to begin. I walked in and met Juliet who shook my hand and I thanked her very much for having this opportunity, she said I needed to wait upstairs for a bit with the other judges. I went into the restaurant upstairs and met a plethora of people from within the cheese industry. I met a gentleman named William who created Cambozola cheese and a lovely lady who has been working with cheese for 35 years and was very helpful in giving me tips for judging. We were all paired up to help with opinions when judging and my fellow judge was Greg Parson MD of Cricketers Farm who was brilliant for my first time judging and together made an impact particularly when it came to the poor person having to tidy up behind us! We had the category of Double Gloucester’s & Other cooking cheeses Cow, Ewe & Goat and I thoroughly enjoyed getting comparisons and knowing when you have just eaten a good cheese.
We finished our categories and then stopped for some lunch which consisted of a Moroccan Lamb casserole with vegetables and once again talking to some wonderful people, I was then called upon again to go through and re-judge some of the ‘best of’ to see if they deserved a higher/lower award and I was paired with Paul from Bradbury’s (Supplier of Waitrose cheese). He let me use the cheese iron and apparently I’m a natural and I had really good fun learning about this tool and I may have to add this to my cheesy toolkit. We then decided out of the category we had Stichelton was our favourite and so awarded this accordingly. If you are interested you can see the full list of awards here http://www.thecheeseweb.com/british-cheese-awards/award-winners-2014. After this and handing the final awards sheet to Juliet this bought the day to a conclusion, having started at 10am and finishing at 2pm I had tried between 20-40 cheeses. I thanked Juliet & Paul and said I would love to comeback again next year to judge, but we will see. I found Greg and thanked him ever so much and he showed me his stall and handed me some leaflets for http://www.somersetciderandcheesefest.co.uk/ which I could be going to! I met some truly wonderful people and the amount of knowledge I have gained from this is beyond measurable and my passion for this product has only increased further.
Maybe there is some truth that I’m known as the Cheese Celebrity of Lymington
Lets see what the next year for the Cheesy1 brings and thank you all reading!