When the call came and we were asked by new client and continental cheese giant Futura Foods, if we’d like to go to the International Cheese Awards trade day we didn’t hesitate.
Apart from wanting to swot up and learn all we could about the world of cheese, the thought of tasting some outstanding award winners certainly had us licking our lips and counting down the days until this annual event in Nantwich, Cheshire.
Delicious mouth-watering aromas floated through the summer air as we parked up in a nearby field and made our way into the huge marquee. First on the agenda was a cheese tasting tour, sampling the wares from the various manufacturers lining the marquee. Mint choc chip, Parma Violets and sticky toffee were some of the more unusual choices on offer, plus of course a wide variety of traditional and specialities from around the globe as well as from our fair Isle. Some favourites included a crumbly Lancashire cheese from ex-Corrie soap star Sean Wilson and Sussex Charmer – a cross between a traditional mature farmhouse Cheddar and a Parmesan (delicious!).
Whilst we worked our way through the cheese mountain, 250 accredited judges were buzzing around sampling the 5,000 different cheeses competing in the most prestigious event in this marvellous industry’s calendar.
Two and a half hours later and it was time for the gala lunch and the first of the award announcements, kicking off with a glass of fizz and some canapés of course.
Next a special procession of la Guilde Internationale des Fromagers who took centre stage to induct a handful of the great and the good from the international cheese world, including one of the esteemed judges and celebrity chef extraordinaire James Martin.
The buffet lunch proved the perfect opportunity to discuss our discoveries with Team Futura and of course an International Cheese Awards gala lunch wouldn’t be complete without the biggest ever cheese board selection…we expected nothing less.
With our induction coming to an end, what better way to finish than with winning announcements, in which Futura Foods received a total of five medals and two VHC – so well done to them!
We consider ourselves very lucky that our dream cheese tasting day didn’t turn into nightmares when we eventually got into bed!!