It goes without saying that many would struggle to cope without dairy products such as cheese in their day-to-day diets. Perhaps one of the lesser-known crafts within the food production industry, Yorkshire’s Wensleydale Cheese Experience is now offering the chance to see how the experts go about their work.
Wensleydale Creamery, situated in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, are launching a whole new cheese demonstration area for visitors. At a reasonable price, you are able to watch the process carefully with a detailed explanation along the way. With a 1,000 year history behind Wensleydale cheese, the experience offers the chance for you to watch an experienced and knowledgeable cheese expert ‘carefully craft a 500g Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese from eight pints of milk’.
We caught up with marketing expert Emily-Jane Smith Cummins who spoke to us about what this brand-new experience brings to the table.
“Our new demonstration area for 2019 will host our popular cheese-making demonstrations and new butter and fudge-making demonstrations. This is on top of cheese pairing and tastings and live cookery demonstrations offering the opportunity for the whole family to get involved!
“Our interactive touch screens show our customers how we wax our famous cheese truckles, add the delicious cranberries to our Yorkshire Wensleydale and how we make Wensleydale Blue. From our viewing gallery, visitors can watch milk being turned into curds and whey, salted, cut up and made into blocks of cheese.”
Both the presence and production of cheese has a vast history in Wensleydale, dating back to the start of the millennium. It is suggested that as early as 1150 cheese making was popular with French Cistercian monks when they settled in the area. During the reign of Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries, cheese making was a job passed on to many farmers’ wives.
More recent history saw the first creamery built in Hawes, which was reported to be back in 1897. Edward Chapman, a local corn and provisions merchant began to purchase milk to make Wensleydale cheese on a larger scale. After a long and uncertain future for cheese production in the Dales, ‘Dairy Crest’ closed the creamery resulting in 59 people losing their jobs in 1992. Six months later, a team of
ex-managers, together with a local businessman, completed a management buyout ensuring the company could continue with its good work.
The lengthy history of Wensleydale’s cheese production is now in the hands of the creamery, which continues to handcraft Yorkshire cheese to a time-honoured recipe using local milk. Opened in 2015, the turnover of the company has reached £27 million; contributing £12 million to the local economy.
The new interactive experience at the creamery is keen to inform visitors of this long tradition, with many being unaware of the facts dating back almost 1,000 years. Emily also spoke to us about other key details of the display.
“There is fun for the whole family with games and activities. Have fun driving the children’s milk tanker and learn all about how a cow makes milk. Watch clips of your favourite Wallace & Gromit films and discover memorabilia, along with a photograph opportunity too.”
There are also various dining opportunities at the creamery, with the famous 1897 coffee shop regarded as one of the very best in Yorkshire. Calvert’s Restaurant, another venue on site also boasts one of the proudest histories with their homemade, locally sourced products.
“In our Calvert’s Restaurant we celebrate the best of Yorkshire Dales’ food. All of our dishes are homemade, created using locally sourced produce, with unique dishes inspired by the use of our cheese, milk and butter. From light bites to our signature dishes and daily seasonal specials, you will find a wide variety to choose from.
“You can enjoy the best of Yorkshire food with home-made dishes in our Calvert’s Restaurant or a tasty snack in our 1897 Coffee Shop. We have launched a brand-new toasted cheese scone, grilled cheese sandwich and home-made milkshake menus which we’re excited about! To round off your visit, indulge with some shopping from a fantastic range of gifts and local produce in our gift shop.”
Further details about all Wensleydale Creamery’s opportunities can be found on their website, which is accessible via www.wensleydale.co.uk. Do not hesitate to visit their online page for prices, opening times and other valuable information about the venue!