Lancashire is big cheese at international awards

Lancashire cheesemakers have scooped top awards and again gained major recognition at this year's International Cheese and Dairy Awards.

By Fiona Finch
Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 1:14 pm

After an absence due to the pandemic the renowned awards, formerly held in Nantwich had a new location, the Staffordshire County Showground.

It was triumphant return for notable local cheesemakers Dewlay of Garstang , Leagram Organic Cheese of Chipping, Greenfields of Goosnargh and Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses of Inglewhite, who all came home with a clutch of top trophies and awards.

County based food and drink retailer Booths supermarkets also excelled, gaining 35 gold awards in the retail categories and being named the Reserve Supreme Retailer of the Year for the whole of the country, with the winner being William Morrison Supermarkets. Booths also took home trophies for being the Cheddar Cheese Retailer of the Year and the Sheeps Cheese Retailer of the Year.

Laura Barnes, Technical Manager at Dewlay says cheese to celebrate their awards at the International Cheese and Dairy Awards Photo: Neil Cross

Dewlay won three top trophies - the Farmhouse Cheesemakers Trophy for The Best Traditional Lancashire Cheese with its Dewlay Creamy Lancashire ;the Bob Kitching Lancashire Trophy for the best Creamery Lancashire Cheese with its Dewlay Crumbly Lancashire and the John Beckett Trophy for the best Territorial Cheese with its Dewlay Tasty Lancashire.

Dewlay also picked up seven silver and four bronze medals. Richard Kenyon and his brother Nick, own and manage Dewlay. Their grandfather established the dairy more than 60 years ago and Richard said: "We are absolutely delighted with these results and this really is a great boost for the hardworking team here at the dairy who day-in day-out produce an award winning range of cheese for our loyal customers around the country and further afield and motivates us to continue on the track that my grandfather set this company on decades ago ”

The family owned business is located on the otuskirts of Garstang off the Garstang By-Pass main A6 road and employs more than 100 staff. It is renowned not just for its Lancashire range but for chesses including Garstang Blue, Nicky Nook, and Beacon Fell Traditional Lancashire, which has a sought after "protected designation of origin" accreditation.

Meanwhile another outstanding local cheesemaker Greenfields Dairy Products of Syke House Lane, Goosnargh, near Preston, which describes itself as "a small traditional cheesemaker" enjoyed the accolade of winning two trophies for its Crumbly Lancashire Cheese. Managing Director Steven Procter of Greenfields shared his picture of the cheese with two trophies perched on top and two rosettes below. Greenfields won the Nantwich Dairy Show Trophy awarded to the best showdressed/bandaged cheese in show and the Ted Hassall Memorial Trophy for the Champion Farmhouse/Traditional cheese.

A top team: Christine Kitching (centre) and Faye Kitching celebrate the success of Leagram Organic Dairy at the 2021 Internatuinal Cheese and Dairy awards with Leagram staff Ian Hutchinson, Adam Townsend (Head Cheesemaker) and Steve Hunt (Photo Neil Cross)

Steven said: "It's very pleasing to win with a Crumbly Lancashire which was first made by my grandad in the 1950s."

The company's website notes it is: "A family run business with a proven award winning track record in the craft of fine traditional cheese making. From the 1930s the family recipes have been winning prizes the length and breadth of England."

Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses,a fourth generation cheesemaker, was also a winner and the company put out a celebratory Tweet noting: "We won awards across all our varieties for hard, soft and blue cheese. Perfect British Cheeseboard certainly wowed the judges, winning Gold!"

Butlers of Wilson Fields Farm, Inglewhite, near Longridgewon the David Dunn Memorial Trophy for the Best Cheese Board and 17 medals. Matthew Hall, a fourth generation owner, said: "We had an incredibly successful year at the ICDA awards which is testament to the hard work put in by all of the team. Our successes including winning multiple awards for our hard, soft and blue cheeses as well as for our packaging and our cheesemakers. Perhaps the one we’re most proud of though is for our '' Perfect British Cheeseboard” as it demonstrates our unique capabilities."

Greenfields of Goosnargh also tasted success at this year's International Cheese and Dairy Awards

He continued: "All of our milk comes from friends/family farms within 10 miles of the dairy and we can actually claim industry firsts on recycling/sustainable packaging - which isn’t too bad for a family-run company competing out of Inglewhite! Like others, our Lancashire recipes are over 50+ years old and still award-winning to this day."

Continuing the county's success story one of the nation's smallest cheesemakers Leagram Organic Dairy of Moss Lane, Chipping, near Longridge, also came home smiling after it brought home two gold, two silver and two bronze awards. The victory was especially rewarding as one of the golds was for the last cheese - a Smoky Cobbler - created by Leagram Organic founder the late Bob Kitching, which his daughter Faye describes as "a soft organic cow's milk cheese, traditionally smoked."

For the full story of Leagram Organic Dairy's triumph and our accompanying video see hereThe Awards organiser Adrian Lawrence said: "We had more than 4,000 entries from over 30 countries. The cheesemakers of Lancashire have had an exceptionally good year - saying that they (the winners) produce fantastic cheese and do very well on a regular basis. It's been a great year for Lancashire."

Now Adrian is planning for next year's show which will again be held in Staffordshire, but on June 30 and July 1 and 2, 2021.

Butlers Farmhouse Cheese celebrate their successes at the awards