Last September we brought to you our third Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival from 14 to 22 September 2019! Back by popular demand, the Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival, celebrating local produce, was yet again another brie-lliant week of delicious local produce from around the Yorkshire Dales. Cheese Festival @ Wensleydale Creamery The festival opened with a fantastic two-day cheese festival at, the home of Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, the Wensleydale Creamery. in Hawes, running across the weekend of Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September 2019. There was amazing local music, delicious street food and enticing beverages on offer, along with a host of cheese-making, grading and cookery demonstrations from the Wensleydale Creamery, local restaurants and producers! Not only this, but there were cheese pairing demonstrations, and masterclasses in cheese with the opportunity to meet local cheese producers and Yorkshire suppliers in our huge marquee, with, of course, plenty of tastings. Celebrating Local Produce Following the first weekend at the Wensleydale Creamery, a further seven days of feasting took place from Monday 16 to Sunday 22 September. Right across the Yorkshire Dales and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, restaurants, cafes, farms and attractions all came together to champion the fantastic range of food that is produced here. Everything from special cheese-themed menus to activities in dairying country. The Final Bite To close the Cheese Festival this year we held our very own mini festival at the Dales Countryside Museum on Sunday 22 September. The event offered an insight into the history of dairying in Wensleydale, butter making and different forms of cheese making with Jane Samells and a needle felting workshop with Kate, owner of That’s Sew Ewe, to learn how to needlefelt little mice. There was also lots of stalls by local producers offering a chance to meet small businesses and learn about their products, from arts and crafts, artisan cheeses, local meats and delicious sweet treats. Tying in nicely with the Cheese Festival was our Dairy Days exhibition in the Dales Countryside Museum. This was the culmination of a two year project to research and share the story of dairying in Wensleydale. A cheesy story Today’s burgeoning cheese scene across the Dales is thanks in part to the Cistercian monks who brought their fromage-making skills over from Normandy. They settled at abbeys such as Jervaulx and Fountains back in the 11th century and started making Wensleydale cheese. Now the iconic Yorkshire Wensleydale has been joined by a range of Yorkshire Dales delights such as Coverdale, Swaledale, Ribblesdale, Richard III, Lacey’s cheese, Yorkshire Blue and Fine Fettle cheeses, and the food’s success has spawned a whole side-industry with preserves, chutneys, gins, beers and accessories all being created within the National Park. Funding for the Cheese Festival and the wider projet sits within has been secured from the Rural Development Programme for England, funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD): Europe investing in rural areas.