Saturday, 2 October 2010

Pass the cheese, Grommit, lad.

Last week was  British Cheese week.

I make no secret of the fact that I prefer British cheese to anything the French can produce. I find it ironic, therefore, that my favourite cheese, Wensleydale, was first made by French Cistercian monks from the Roquefort region, who had settled in Wensleydale in the early medieval period. By the 14th century the cheese was no longer made with sheep’s milk, but with  cow’s milk. Today, some versions of the cheese are made from sheep's milk.

Real Wensleydale is produced from 36 dairy farms, all within 12 miles of Hawes, Yorkshire. A tanker collects the milk each day and it is delivered to the creamery where it is pasteurised before being poured into vats at the start of the cheese-making process. In true French fashion befitting their founders, the makers of 'real Wensleydale'  have applied for Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) - the French call it Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée. 

There is some 'real' Wensleydale cheese in the fridge, for it is my birthday today and I can think of no better way of ending the celebration meal.