Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Great British Cheese Festival, Cardiff - Review

The Great British Cheese festival was 3 weeks ago but it would be a shame to let it pass with the last of the summer sun without leaving a few positive words.

We had an awesome couple of hours eating our bodyweight in fine cheese (I had severe cheese sweats by the end of morning); we drank a few halves of cider in the sunshine of Cardiff castle grounds; we ate a staggeringly good hog roast from Glamorgan Vale Pedigree Welsh Pigs and we also had a rather shambolic attempt at cheese tossing (the puntastic attendants urged us to stay still-ton and to do fetter).

Mrs G and I had bagged half price tickets through Kate Garraway’s bizarrely named group discount website, GoodyPass. This meant our entry fee was the princely sum of £4.37 instead of £8.75. However, even if we’d paid full price we’d still have been happy customers (especially as tickets for a cheese masterclass are included with a full price advance ticket).

The focal point of the festival was a large marquee with stalls from an impressive range of small cheese producers (there was only a small element of dross in the form of Tesco and Illchester, the manufactures of such monstrosities as Mexicana and Applewood smoke flavoured cheddar). 

Tasting highlights included Colston Bassett stilton, Quicke’s and Montgomery’s cheddar and Bath Blue. However the 2 cheeses with the X-factor which made it into our shopping basket were a mature goat’s cheese from Irish producer Killeen (powerful, nutty and creamy) and Devon blue (super creamy and mild with a bit of mouldy sharpness). Both pieces were devoured before the weekend was out with some rather fantastic caraway crackers from La Fromagerie.

If the sun is shining then I’d highly recommend spending a few hours wiling away the day in the beautiful grounds of Cardiff castle at The Great British Cheese Festival. However, I can see how a few rain clouds could take the lustre off this pretty weather dependant event.

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