Before 2020 turned into a low-budget version of “I Am Legend” - minus the weird vampire zombies - the calendar was studded with some seriously exciting food events. As Spring turns into summer, it’s easy to get itchy feet thinking about all the outdoor cookouts, beer festivals and generally delicious experiences that have been denied us by COVID-19. Still, not every foodie gathering is set to be thwarted by a deadly virus.
To help spread some cheesy cheer, and provide some much-needed support to the industry, the Academy of Cheese has set about organising a dairy celebration like no other. Dubbed the “British Cheese Weekender”, the event is an online festival designed to promote the best of British produce through free online tastings, masterclasses and general cheesy wisdom.
According to the website, the event is part of a wider campaign organised by the Academy, designed to “celebrate the amazing range of cheeses made by small producers in the UK and to highlight the crisis they face.”
Take a look behind the scenes at Camden's "The Cheese Bar":
The current climate has hit artisanal cheesemakers particularly hard. As the economy has ground to a halt, “farmhouse and artisan cheesemakers are being forced to pour thousands of litres of milk down the drain and give away cheese for free.” Catherine Mead, chair of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association, explained:
“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.”
However, despite the desperate situation, it’s not all doom and gloom for those in the dairy business. As Catherine Mead went on to add:
“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.”
If learning about some tasty cheeses free of charge will help, you can count us in.