THE Prince of Wales has backed a campaign calling for the public to support small cheesemakers, as the Covid-19 pandemic threatens the futures of many of the country’s most celebrated farmhouse and artisan cheeses.
This message of support, which was accompanied by one of the Prince’s favourite recipes – for Cheesy Baked Eggs using British cheeses – was given during the British Cheese Weekender.
The virtual cheese festival, staged over the bank holiday weekend with 37 online events, was set up to raise awareness of the crisis facing the previously thriving industry and connect consumers directly to those selling their cheese online.
The Prince is a longstanding supporter of Britain’s speciality cheesemakers, and has been patron of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association (SCA) since 1993. His backing for the campaign follows news of many cheesemakers losing as much as 70 per cent of their business when the hospitality sector was closed down.
The British Cheese Weekender was organised by the SCA, the Academy of Cheese, the Guild of Fine Food and cheese writer Patrick McGuigan to showcase the best of the nation’s cheese.
The Prince’s message said: “As we continue to suffer from the ever more dreadful consequences of the global coronavirus pandemic, it has been tremendously heartening to hear of so many people supporting their neighbours and communities in whatever way that they can. It is encouraging, too, to hear of people using this time at home to indulge in the pleasure of cooking; embracing their kitchens and enjoying home-cooked meals.
“One thing that undoubtedly brings many of us great comfort is good food. It is, therefore, deeply troubling to learn that this crisis risks destroying one of the most wonderful joys in life – British cheese!
“The closure of our pubs and restaurants has had a devastating impact on the sales of British cheese, and I understand that some of our smallest producers are really suffering as a result. I am sure that I am not alone in thinking that it would be an immense tragedy if these historic businesses were lost forever, to say nothing about the wonderfully flavoursome, memorable and diverse range of cheeses they produce.
“As patron of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association, I know all too well that this country now has some of the finest cheesemakers in the world. And, if I may say so, it is a great injustice that our cheesemakers rarely receive the same degree of recognition that their continental cousins receive across the Channel. Many of these are small, family-run businesses, working to historic methods with irreplaceable knowledge and making the most delicious products imaginable.
“British cheesemakers need our support during this time of great uncertainty, and we can all help in the simplest way. By sourcing British cheese from local shops and cheesemongers, and directly from producers online, you can make a vital contribution to keeping these small businesses afloat during the prevailing crisis.
“To ‘whet your appetite’, I am sharing one of my favourite recipes that can be made by using any number of our great British cheeses, which I hope you might be tempted to try…”
Cheese fans can catch-up on the events from the British Cheese Weekender at blog.academyofcheese.org/british-cheese-weekender