Food and Drink October 12, 2011
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Great British Cheese Festival

Cardiff Castle has become the new home to the Great British Cheese Festival, and this national celebration of one of the country’s finest specialist foods arrives in the Welsh capital on the weekend of September 27 – 28. 

This is the ninth year of an event that attracts exhibitors and visitors from across the length and breadth of the UK – including one cheesemaker known more for making music than cheese!

Cardiff Council will be hosting an event that attracts over 10,000 foodies and the dramatic and imposing new setting of Cardiff Castle will bring the country’s 100 best cheese makers to pass on their knowledge and offer visitors the chance to taste over 500 British cheeses.

Among them will be newspaper columnist and former Blur bass player Alex James, one of the bad boys of the Britpop era, and now a specialist Cotswold cheesemaker with the Festival creator, Juliet Harbutt.  Their first cheese, Little Wallop has been wowing the critics since its launch at the Festival last year, and they, along with several other cheesemakers, will be launching a new cheese at this year’s show.

The Great British Cheese Festival has been staged in the past at various locations in the south of England, including Cheltenham town centre, and Blenheim Palace. Now Cardiff Castle is to be the venue for the foreseeable future, adding its own charm to the unique character of an event that is the focal point of the cheese calendar for cheese makers, buyers and foodies from around the world.

New Zealand born Juliet Harbutt set up the event in 2000, to raise the profile of British cheese. A cheese expert and chairman of the British Cheese Awards, Juliet will now act as a consultant to the Cardiff event. She said: “I wanted to step back from the running of the show, and was delighted that Cardiff Council identified the event’s charm and potential enough to bring it to their beautiful city and to the dramatic surroundings of the castle in the very heart of Cardiff, where the event has the potential to expand.
  
“I know that everyone involved from exhibitors to our cheese lovers will love the new setting and the warm Welsh hospitality, and feel very much at home here.  Plus the Millennium Stadium will be an amazing venue for the Awards dinner.”

The Festival is open to the public on Saturday September 27 and Sunday, and on Friday buyers will descend on Cardiff for a trade day, followed by the British Cheese Awards Dinner at the world-famous Millennium Stadium on Friday evening.

Britain’s biggest Cheese Market will continue to dominate the event with over 500 cheeses from across the British Isles to sample and purchase, but visitors can also enjoy an extraordinary diversity of food and drink in the other markets on site.  These include the Best of British Market, True Taste of Wales and Rare Essentials Markets, Cook & Book Shop and the Cardiff Arms Inn serving real ale, Perry, cider and English Wine. There will also be a series of master classes and demonstrations taking place throughout the weekend.

The Great British Cheese Festival keeps the food theme running after the Cardiff International Food & Drink Festival which takes place on July 11, 12 and 13 in Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff Bay.

For details on the Great British Cheese Festival, visit www.thecheeseweb.com


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