Sunday, 3 May 2015

Remember Lymeswold?

May Bank Holiday weekend

Without the traditional Canal Festival, I was at a bit of a loss to know what to do with the Bank Holiday weekend: I read in the local paper that The Boat Inn was having a bit of a do, as indeed they did last year, but this didn't appeal to me so much.

Leafing through my page feed on facebook, I was alerted to an Artisan Cheese Fair taking place in Melton Mowbray over the weekend, so hubby and I headed out on an unseasonably cold Saturday at the beginning of May, fondly remembering such days in the past when we'd got sunburnt at the Rushcliffe Country Park in Ruddington (slight diversion here, but Zena over at Zena's Suitcase writes a lovely blog, and reviews RCP).

Well, if you like cheese (and coffee, and cakes, and alcohol and alcoholic ice-cream, and bread, and bread boards, and cheese-making kits, and preserves, and chocolate and old-fashioned lorries with old-fashioned cheese-making kit on board, and Morris dancers and ukulele orchestras) then you'd love the Melton Artisan Cheese Fair! It was almost like a mini food festival, but concentrating on cheese.


Walking around the various stalls, which had come from almost all over the country, including Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Lincolnshire, Kent, Wales, Cheshire, Shropshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Northumberland, Somerset, Wiltshire, North Yorkshire - and those are just the ones I can remember, there was a heady smell of cheese and alcohol in the halls! Little tiny chunks of cheese with cocktail sticks adorned most stalls, and we tasted and tasted, with each mouthful regarding ourselves to be better and better cheese connoisseurs! Erroneously, of course! I've done a course in wine-making and tasting (taught by the wonderful Andrew Hill) and got a certificate in it from Loughborough College, but I've no such qualifications in cheese-making and tasting!

Anyway, we bought everything we needed for a delicious tea for the evening - bread, butter, coffee, oh, and some cheese! All the cheeses tasted so good, it was really hard to pick just the one or two that wouldn't blow our small budget, and we settled for some goats cheese, a blue cheese (aptly named Battlefield Blue and made by the Leicestershire Handmade Cheese Company at Upton, near Nuneaton), a very smelly cheese (from Cardiganshire) and a wedge of mature cheddar: I'd post a picture, but half-eaten cheese doesn't really look very nice!

The most local-to-Loughborough products that I spotted were Chocolate Alchemy, who are based in Churchgate Mews, and Burleigh's [London Dry] Gin, which is a micro-brewery based at Bawdon Lodge Farm, Nanpantan Road.

So, having chosen and bought what we wanted, we watched the Morris dancers for a little while: What an energetic bunch, and so talented! Then, we listened to the Melstrum Ukulele Orchestra do  few numbers: Very entertaining! All cheesed-out, we made our way into town and had tea in one of the many teashops in Melton town centre, and then did a little bit of shopping with the teeny bit of money we had left, before driving home, keen to start cooking tea!

We took the scenic route home, and coincidentally drove through Wymeswold, a village which has always confounded me with it's layout! Driving past the church brought back memories of that lovely Lymeswold cheese, an English brie-type cheese, made in Cannington, Somerset, by Dairy Crest, not in Wymeswold as one might like to think, given its name!

The next foodie thing to happen in Melton will be the Melton Mowbray / East Midlands Food Festival, taking place on 3rd-4th October - another one well-worth a visit if you like your food!

Here's a couple more photos from the cheese event.


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