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Cheese, beautiful cheese

May 24, 2011

I have mottoes. Quite a lot of mottoes actually. Such as ‘You can never be too rich or too thin’, ‘You can never wear too much make up’, There is no bad mood that can’t be solved by the O Brother Where are thou soundtrack’, and of course my personal favourite – There is nothing that can’t be improved by adding cheese’.

You can imagine then how excited I was to be invited to an actual, real cheese factory to see how cheese is made! The British Cheese Board (who are like the Helpdesk for cheese – you need to know anything about cheese just give them a bell. They’re the Cheese Emergency Service) and Joseph Heler Cheese were kind enough to invite some unruly bloggers, most with cheese fetishes (or was that just me?) to their dairy in Cheshire. We had a tour of the factory (looking incredibly attractive)  and saw how cheese is made.

Amy @ And 1 more means 4...and 1 more; me; Jen @ The Mad House; Jean @ notSupermum; Lindy @ Squidgyboo; Kate @ The 5 F's

Do you know much of it is still manual? I thought it would be almost entirely automated but no, a man salts the cheese (very important skill this – too much & it would be ruined, too little and not only would it taste awful but it wouldn’t last as long. Salt is used as a preservative) and then men pack it too! We were taken to the warehouse where the cheese is left to ripen (different lengths of time depending on the cheese) until its ready to ship to the shops.

SO MUCH CHEESE! You have no idea how much I wanted to grabs a few wheels of Cheshire & high tail it out of there. But I didn’t. Oh no, because we were heading to TASTE the cheese. Bliss…. A very nice man taught us all about the different tastes and textures of the different cheeses, taught us when a cheese was ready and most importantly let us try the cheese. Double Gloucester – to die for. Cheshire – heavenly. I’m not a fan of any blue cheese but that was pronounced wonderful too. We were even given the opportunity to make out own cheese! We were taken through the whole process on a small scale. From separating the curds and whey, salting and pressing the cheese into moulds we did it all ( photos on my Facebook page). Then just 3 weeks later (we made a coloured Cheshire which is one of the quickest cheeses to mature) it popped through my letterbox! (properly packaged and nicely cool I hasten to add). It actually arrived just in time for my birthday. So when I had a little birthday buffet at my lovely friend Karen’s (AKA Grumpyish Mum) house my cheese took centre stage! Indeed, we didn’t have a ceremonious cutting of the cake & singing – I cut the cheese & everyone sung happy birthday.

See – it just goes to show, even birthdays can be improved with the addition of cheese. 

Incidentally whilst I was at Joseph Heler I was picking their brains about cheese for my Dad’s cafe – his shop Bread & Basil is not far from the dairy and he wanted info on local cheese. They were fantastic – they popped along to his shop the week after, gave him some samples, he was most impressed and now proudly stocks Joseph Heler local cheese in his deli. Before I visited the dairy I tended to err on the side of economics when buying cheese. I got much of it for free from my Dad’s but if I wanted some for Craig’s sandwiches or general cooking I have to admit I’d buy Asda Smartprice cheese. It’s ok but the flavour and texture is so poor compared to a ‘proper’ cheese. So now I honestly do buy Joseph Heler cheese. It’s stocked in all major supermarkets and I know where it comes from. I do try to advocate the importance of local foods and I’m glad I can finally say I eat local cheese from a local dairy.

For more pics of our day out have a look at the British Cheese Board’s facebook page. Which also has loads more interesting things on it. And like Joseph Heler while you’re there won’t you? I had a great day and can’t thank them enough.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2011 9:07 pm

    Hey cant believe you were so close by when you visited Joseph Heler… how exciting I must admit my cheese thing has increased since being pregnant this time. Did you know there was a cheese festival in Nantwich as well. Not sure when but it is once a year and you’ll be able to google it no doubt. Let me know if you want a companion for the day to visit “Cheshire” I can no doubt bring the Baby (Bel) along with. x

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      May 24, 2011 9:55 pm

      I Googled it! It’s on Wed 27 July & there’s no way I’d be able to get the day off – my manager is off then 😦
      Are you going to the Congleton Food & Drink festival again? I think I saw your name on the fb page but forgot to message you to check. I’ll be at my dad’s again. Even if you ‘re not working it (and I can’t imagine you would with a brand new baby!) come and have a brew with us! Would love to meet Elliot & the new baby 🙂 x

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