Taking place from Friday, April 23 to Sunday, April 25, organizers of this year’s festival said it will be held in honor of the British public, who responded enthusiastically to last year’s rallying call to support small cheesemakers throughout the lockdown, which they said has brought many of Britain’s finest cheeses back from the brink.
In spite of online sales increasing, the organizers said the vast majority of producers are still way down on income following the long absence of sales from hospitality and foodservice. As pubs and restaurants look set to fully reopen from May 17, the British Cheese Weekender is calling on people to show their support for cheesemakers when eating out.
Virtual festival-goers will be encouraged to buy cheese and will be able to cook along with top chefs each night.
Tracey Colley, director of the Academy of Cheese, said, “We are thrilled to be bringing back the British Cheese Weekender for a celebration of our highly skilled British cheesemakers and as way of saying thank you to all who have kept buying British cheese throughout 2020. There will be a vast array of virtual events showcasing the diversity of cheese, delivered by our experts, so we invite any cheese fan to tune in and taste along.”
Catherine Mead, chair of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association, said, “Following the enormous success of the 2020 British Cheese Weekender, the Specialist Cheesemakers Association is really proud to be supporting the 2021 event. Last year’s British Cheese Weekender brought literally thousands of supporters into our dairies and onto our farms, tasting some of our established cheeses and experimenting with the new and less familiar, giving them a better understanding of what it takes to make Great British cheese. Our thanks go out to the wonderful British Cheese Weekender organizers and we are all looking forward to getting involved and once again, connecting with our cheese champions and supporters.”
John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, said, “Britain’s love for its cheesemakers came across loud and clear in their hour of need and it’s a huge relief to have made it through 12 months of unprecedented challenges with the vast majority of our cheese heritage still intact.
“Village stores, delis and farm shops have remained open and, in the main, have blossomed over the last year, becoming a critical service to their communities. They form the conduit between the makers and the cheese lover, so I hope the public will stand by them and continue to explore the rich cheese landscape on their doorsteps.”