|Cheese judge Brian Murrell hard at work
Whether you like it mild or mature, simple or special the best place to find the finest cheeses and the country's best cheesemakers is the Great Yorkshire Cheese and Dairy Show held within the Great Yorkshire Show. Dates for the 2005 event are Tuesday 12 - Thursday 14 July and this year, once again there are record entries.
Dairy products - from cheddar and Channel Island milk to ice cream - will compete alongside some of the finest specialist products with the aim of winning one of the many coveted prizes and commendations. The section is kindly sponsored by Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc.
There are 711 entries for the 2005 event which has smashed the previous all time high of 617 set at last year's event. To accommodate its success, the section has a new home, within Hall 1 (Flower Hall) allowing more space to display the entries.
Jayne Hickinbotham, who organizes the show on behalf of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society said: "It's wonderful to see such strong entry figures, particularly given the changes within the dairy industry. The Great Yorkshire Cheese and Dairy Show stands out against other similar events because of the encouragement it gives to non cheese entries as well as the cheese producers thus presenting a show more representative of the industry as a whole."
Having gone from strength to strength since its launch four years ago, the popular show plays host to retailers and producers across the dairy spectrum. There are 25 classes for cheese alone, plus classes for yoghurt, ice cream, milk and butter, making it one of the finest shows in the country. All have the chance to take the award for the Supreme Champion Dairy Product. Last year the honours went to Settle Creamery's Salted Butter (Arla foods Plc), a win that has encouraged entries in classes outside of the cheese varieties.
The Great Yorkshire Cheese and Dairy Show stands out in competitions of its kind for its recognition of other dairy products alongside the classic cheese varieties. For example, last year's reserve champion was an ice-cream from Ryeburn of Helmsley. The liquid milk classes are also popular and are again sponsored by Moody plc. All entries come before teams of judges on Monday 11 July and presentations are awarded on the first day of the event.
The continued success of the Show, has led to the creation this year of a cookery theatre which will showcase innovative use of dairy products in easy to make, practical recipes. It will be hosted by Elaine Lemm, Food and Wine Editor of Yorkshire Life magazine. Guest speakers and award winning chefs from all around the country will be sharing their expertise over the three days and include: Richard Walton-Allen from Harvey Nichols' Fourth Floor Restaurant, Robert Ramsden of The General Tarleton in Ferrensby near Knaresborough and Andy Gabbitas, Master Chef of Great Britain, of Sheffield.
For the first time, there is a Retailer section, for 'own label' dairy products sponsored by Wensleydale Dairy Products of Hawes. Competitors can also enter the Celebrity Choice class where entries are judged by a celebrity panel which includes Yorkshire Television presenter Gaynor Barnes; entries for this class can be any type of dairy product.
And youngsters can display their expertise as they also take a turn at cheese judging. Children from Parkinson Lane Primary School, Halifax and from Hookstone Chase Primary School, Harrogate will give their verdicts in the children's class having won the cheese grading competition at the Countryside Days for Primary Schools event. Countryside Days took place in May and is also run by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.
With entries coming in from all over the country, the show looks set to be the biggest and most diverse yet, but there are plenty of local contributors to watch out for, including a spectacular 51 entries from Longley Farm, Huddersfield - the most from a single exhibitor at the show.