Top prize for new Somerset cheese

A NEW European-style cheese,  La Fresca Margarita, made at Feltham’s Farm near Wincanton, has won Best British Cheese at the Virtual Cheese Awards 2021

For cheese-maker Marcus Fergusson, it was his second year as supreme champion, following the success of his Renegade Monk as the best British cheese in the first Virtual Cheese Awards in 2020.

The awards were established by Sarah de Wit and Nigel Pooley last year. Cheeses are blind-tasted by professional cheese judges such as Adrian Boswell, Selfridge’s senior fresh food buyer, Dhruv Baker of Tempus Foods, Tracey Colley, director Academy of Cheese, Chris Dawson, Marks & Spencer’s cheese buyer, Perry Wakeman, of Cheese Rennet & Rind, Sam Wilkin of Cellarman Sam, Emma Young, cheese explorer and consultant.

La Fresca Margarita, which beat hundreds of cheeses across the categories, is a “queso fresco” (fresh cheese) made with pasteurised cow’s milk. Inspired by the cheesemakers’ travels in Latin America and Spain, it comes salted or plain. Margarita is Spanish for “daisy” which grows in abundance on Feltham Farm’s marsh meadow.

Marcus says: “La Fresca Margarita is a lovely queso fresco we developed over lockdown as a counterbalance to our pungent washed rind cheeses. Once again the Virtual Cheese Awards have moved our cheese industry forwards, because there’s nothing like being able to see your cheese tasted blind by experts in front of everyone…”

Marcus Fergusson and Penny Nagle, who had always been passionate about food and cheese, started making cheese in 2017.