29 May 2009, 14:47 PM
  • Recognising the country's talent for cheese making is top of the agenda at The Royal Bath & West Dairy Produce Awards this week

With 70 different competition categories and special awards for cheesemakers consistently topping the tables, deli owners are taking the opportunity to have another look at their range.

“Where possible delis will want to stock cheese bearing the gold, silver or bronze badge because it gives them a stand-out selling point,” says Nigel White secretary of the British Cheese Board. “Equally, retailers will be looking at the results and questioning why some of the cheeses have not done so well,” he adds.

After attending the show for the first time, Liz Chidgey, cheese buyer for County Stores, a deli and cafe in Taunton, is looking at adding some different cheddars to their range.

“It’s excellent to see how many different varieties are doing so well. I noticed a cheddar with roasted onions which looked terrific and another one with chilli,” says Ms Chidgey. “I’ve got so many new ideas now but we still need to think about what will work for our customers before changing what we stock,” she adds.

Mr White urges other retailers looking at this year’s results to bear in mind the inconsistent flavour profile of any cheese.

“Cheese changes over time. For example a Stilton at eight weeks would be dry and bitter, whereas at 12 weeks the taste would be mellow, smooth and creamy,” he says. “This explains why the results of competitions are different every year – cheesemakers face the constant challenge of presenting their best cheese at that particular time,” he adds.

In addition to observing the various successes, the show is also seen as a valuable opportunity for independents looking to build closer relationships with their producers.

“The show gives smaller retailers the chance to talk directly to those making the cheeses they sell or are considering to sell,” says Mr White.

The Royal Bath & West Dairy Produce Awards runs from Wednesday 27th to Saturday 30th May in Shepton Mallet, showcasing over 150 cheesemakers from across the country.

For a full record of all the results visit: www.bathandwest.com

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