It’s difficult to express with words how much I love cheese. It’s been a passion that has been with me for as long as I can remember and has brought me joy every single day of my life. My tastes have changed from the mass-produced generic to the hand-crafted artisan, but at some stage I have genuinely loved them all.
Living part of the week in Yorkshire, as I do, I know the culinary delights of the region well and have been keen to spread the word further afield. I am also very excited about the burgeoning array of quality cheese that is now available in Britain. Milk rationing during the Second World War and in the post-war years dealt a huge blow to the craft, as only cheddar that had been made in a particular way was legal to manufacture. Cheese of uniform taste and quality – Government Cheddar as it was known – was the rule. Where there were 3500 independent cheesemakers in Britain prior to 1914, by the end of 1945 that number had been reduced to 100.
For many years, this situation prevailed. But in the late 1980s and early 1990s something changed. Many people, often without any practical experience of farming or producing cheese, started to revive old recipes. Pioneers such as James Aldridge, a scaffolder and mechanic by trade, began to experiment once again with raw milk and develop farmhouse cheeses. A new era in British cheese-making was now underway.