The UK's first virtual cheese festival is coming and it’s as good as it sounds

The UK’s first online cheese festival will connect cheese lovers with experts, include virtual tastings and deliver cheeseboards to your door – where do we sign?

As a nation of cheese enthusiasts, we don’t think it would be over curdling the cheddar to say that pretty much any cheese-themed event is met with open arms (and open mouths) around the UK.

There was the Cheese Conveyor Belt which came to the capital last year and Londoners went absolutely wild for. And let’s not forget the Cheese Barge and Cheese Hotel Suite among the cheese fairs, festivals and parties up and down the country over the summer months. Heck, we’ve even quizzed ourselves on what cheese we would be.

We know that Covid-19 threatens a lot more than our summer plans and its effects on our society have been devastating. But sometimes in the face of a situation that feels overwhelming, it’s the little things that can get you down.

That’s why we’ve got so much time for innovative ideas like the British Cheese Weekender. 

Recognising that a summer without any fun plans, events or festivals, is well, no fun at all, the Specialist Cheesemakers Association, Academy of Cheese and the Guild of Fine Food, with cheese writer and campaign founder Patrick McGuigan, have decided to put on a cheese festival for you in your own living room. 

This is how it’ll work: over the early May bank holiday (8-10) the country’s top cheese experts will be taking to YouTube and Facebook to give free online tastings and talks. 

Encouraging participants to support small cheesemakers and retailers, they will be covering different topics: from matching cheese with wine, beer and cider, to how to create the perfect cheeseboard,  as well as cooking with cheese. Essentially, the weekend will be a 101 on all things cheese.

Each session one will be up to an hour long and the idea is to buy some good cheese, tune in at the appointed time and eat along with the expert. You’ll also be able to message in questions, as well. 

Not only is it fun, this initiative will support small cheesemakers who are struggling in the wake of coronavirus. Right now, farmhouse and artisan cheesemakers are being forced to pour thousands of litres of milk down the drain and give away cheese for free after many lost up to 90% of their business overnight when restaurants were closed down.

The situation is getting worse, too. Maturing rooms all over the UK full of cheese can only last so long, as the nature of the product is not to be long lasting. While cows, sheep and goats are now out at pasture, and continue to produce milk every day that must be used or be thrown away.

The British Cheese Weekender will run from the 8-10 May, with some details still to be finalised, so watch this space to find out more. 

Images: Unsplash Melissa Walker / Camille Brodard

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