Dates for the Dairy – Somerset Cheese Festivals

Dates for the Dairy, Event cheese

No cheese this week –  instead, the promise of cheese. The Somerset cheese festival programme is slated (see what I did there?) to begin this Saturday. Grab your chutney, statins, sun hats and cagoules, and get involved.

A5-BETTER-WILD-CHEESE-FLYER-2014-2The Second Westcombe Wild Cheese + Beer Festival

Westcombe Dairy and the Wild Beer Company’s promotional material promises “Beer & Cheese & Food & Other Things”. Other Things translates to coconut shys to support the local cricket team, live music, and cheese and beer pairing/tasting classes. They’re launching two new Wild Beer Co. beers, and the dairy will be putting about its stellar unpasteurised cheddar alongside a couple other of its masterfully crafted artisan cheeses. In the event of a light shower or two, there’s cleverly a marquee.

The 151st Royal Bath & West Show

The UK’s “biggest” cider competition; the country’s “finest” livestock; and the new home of The British “Cheese” Awards. Wham Bam Thank You Farmland.

Somerset Cheese, Cider and Moozic Festival

Promises 25 different local ciders; over 30 Somerset produced cheeses; camping; dogs welcome; cheese & cider games “like no other”. Bands include Joey the Lips; Sound of the Sirens; Wille & The Bandits; and The Mangled Wurzels known for such agriculturally flavoured hits as “I Can Drive a Tractor” (see below).

Any festivals I’ve missed for May/June in Somerset, please let me know in the comments section.

Next week: back to cheese

O my luve’s like a very mature cheese: Burns Night

Event cheese

Robert BurnsBurns Night (Jan 25th) – the annual celebration of legendary, barely intelligible Scottish poet, Robert Burns – will soon be upon us.

Traditionally, you’re meant to have a plateful of what sounds like Glaswegian street slang for either gangs, drugs, or venereal disease : Haggis, Cullen Skink, Neeps and Tatties, washing it all down with a peaty single malt.

Obviously, this is a prime opportunity to eat a wee bit a cheese-ie (as they probably don’t say in Scotland). Particularly, artisan Scottish cheeses of which there are more than a few. I’ll be seizing this opportunity (as I currently know sweet f.a. about Scottish cheese) so expect a post mortem next week.

These recommendations are from Paxton and Whitfield:

Barwheys Beastie is a delicious handmade hard cheese which delivers a long and complex flavour. The texture is creamy with just a hint of crumbliness. Barwheys cheese is made in Ayrshire, a wee distance from where Robert Burns’s mother is said to have made cheese. The ‘Beastie’ is the most mature release of this fledgling Dairy and the name is a reference to the line “wee sleekit Cow’rin timorous beastie” from Burns’ poem To A Mouse.

Lanark Blue is an unpasteurised ewes’ milk cheese handmade on a small family run farm at the foot of the Pentland Hills in the Southern Uplands of Scotland. It has two levels of maturity – six weeks (early season) and up to eight months, just in time for Burns’ Night. The unique flavour of the extra matured cheese is deliciously powerful and pungent – apparently once described as a ‘kilt lifter’. Roquefort in style, but entirely its own cheese.


Buy it online at

Criffel is made by Loch Arthur Creamery in South Scotland. The Dairy is part of a charity organisation called Camphill Community which works with adults with learning disabilities. This washed rind, raw milk cheese is in very short supply as they are not a commercial outfit. It’s flavour is full, earthy and distinctive and the unique shape and rind comes from their use of square seedling trays as moulds, back when they couldn’t afford industrial cheesemaking equipment.

More recommendations can be found at Fiona Beckett’s site, Matching Food and Wine, where she’s had suggestions from London’s La Fromagerie. The Isle of Mull Cheddar she suggests will certainly be enjoying a brief and comfortable stay on my cheese slate.

Might skimp on the Skink though.