A Virtual Cheese Festival Is Coming This Month
Oh, cheese - we love it in all forms: with wine, on toast, smothered in chutney and served on a cracker. And now, we'll be enjoying it virtually, too.
Yep, a virtual cheese festival is heading our way and will take place over the May bank holiday weekend (8th-10th May).
The British Cheese Weekender will offer a range of activities, from tastings to tutorials, and has been set up to support struggling cheesemakers amidst the coronavirus crisis.
With the pandemic continuing, farmhouse and artisan cheesemakers are being forced to pour away thousands of litres of milk as well as giving away cheese for free. This is because many have lost as much as 90 per cent of their business after restaurants closed.
The problem has been compounded by many Brits stocking up on supermarket cheeses, which are typically made by big manufacturing companies.
To pledge support, cheesemakers and retailers have teamed up to offer a three-day event where Brits will be encouraged to get involved in a series of free online tastings as well as masterclasses.
The idea is for those 'attending' the festival to buy some cheese online beforehand, to fully benefit from the tastings and classes.
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Many cheesemakers, farm shops and delis are now delivering their products directly to customers' doors as well as introducing social distancing measures in shops.
Cheesemaker Catherine Mead, chair of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association, said: "The future of Britain's farmhouse and specialist cheesemakers is in the balance - we could see many of the country's best cheeses lost for ever as family farms and small cheesemaking businesses are pushed to the wall.
"The good news is that it's never been easier to buy good cheese, either online or direct. The specialist cheese industry has mobilised almost overnight, often teaming up with other small food producers, to get good food to people in their local areas.
You can find a full list of cheesemakers here.
Set up by The Specialist Cheesemakers Association, the Academy of Cheese, and the Guild of Fine Food (with support from cheese writer and campaign founder, Patrick McGuigan), the festival will also include workshops, where people can learn how to match their cheese with wine, beer or cider. So it's worth stocking up on some vino, too.
All masterclasses and workshops will be held on YouTube or Facebook and you can even ask your own cheese-related questions.
For more information, visit the Academy of Cheese website and don't forget to stock up - not that we've ever needed an excuse to buy delicious cheeses...
Featured Image Credit: Pexels