celebrate british cheese at this weekend’s virtual cheese fest

Hold up, what’s this? A virtual festival that celebrates cheese? Sign us up right now! And fair warning: this is the perfect opportunity for us to air our best cheese jokes.

Like so many businesses, independent cheesemakers have taken a battering as the Covid-19 pandemic forced restaurants to close in March. This led Brighton-based food journalist and cheese writer (can we have this job, please?) Patrick McGuigan to co-found the British Cheese Weekender with The Academy of Cheese to support the specialist cheese industry and help save British cheese.

This tasty-sounding festival includes live-streamed talks by leading cheese experts, cheese and wine pairing masterclasses (plus a kids’ soft drinks version!), behind-the-scenes farm and dairy tours, cheeseboard tips, guided tastings, cooking demos – including a cook-along fondue night – and quizzes. You can see the full line-up here.

It’s all free, but to make the most of it, you really need to stock up on that British cheese! But cheesy does it (sorry, we’re only just getting started), do support the independents and artisan makers if you can.

We’ve got some great British cheese-sellers and makers in Brighton and Sussex, so do local businesses – and your tastebuds – a favour and stock up on the gouda stuff. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Head over to The Cheeseman’s CheeseHut in Hove in person (Monday to Saturday, 10.00am – 4.00pm) for a brilliant selection of British cheese, or get your favourites delivered. To celebrate the British Cheese Weekender, they’re highlighting a British cheese every day. Today is the turn of the delectable Cornish Yarg.
  • A little further afield is the High Weald Dairy in Stonegate, near Wadhurst, which sells a glorious range of vegetarian raw-milk cheeses. Email to order.
  • Or check out the vegetarian goat’s, cow’s and sheep’s milk cheeses from the Traditional Cheese Dairy in Horsted Keynes, near Haywards Heath. You can order online.

So we may not be able to attend festivals in person, but this weekend is turning into a bumper virtual festival experience and we’re loving it! And, let’s face it, any excuse to eat good cheese and we’re all over it. Be there or Brie square!

Before we go, here’s our favourite cheese joke:

What cheese do you use to coax a bear out of the woods?

You’re welcome.

Friday 8th – Sunday 10th May 2020, various times; free