Cheeses Under the Stars

You may have read the blog that goes with this article, if not it doesn't matter, it talks about the great day we had in Oxford prior to arriving in Churchill for the Cheeses under the Stars event (Fig 1). Figure 1


Churchill is a picturesque Cotswold Village with a fantastic village green, Church and fountain all built from the characteristic Cotswold stone (Fig 2 & 3 & 4). Our B&B was lovely, very tastefully modernised and I will remember the 'snuggliness' of the bed for many years. Peter and Caroline were very welcoming and knowledgeable both about the area and the Awards Event. There was an added benefit to the Corner House; the event was taking place thirty yards from the back garden gate.

Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4


The earlier part of the day and the B&B being so fantastic, makes the subsequent emotional response to the Cheeses under the Stars event difficult to summarise, however, I have to be honest.

Both Jan and I felt the evening was poorly organised, with little introduction despite the programme suggesting there would be a 15 minute talk prior to the start of the sampling process. We felt cast adrift if you like, not part of what was obviously an inner circle of what were probably local people or regulars. The biscuits or crackers were tasty, as was the small bowl of salad and couscous along with the artisan breads; however, value for money is questionable.

We did the horizontal tasting test (fig 5 &6) then we were not given the answers! Some people were being informed the cheeses they were eating were for the horizontal test and the sample cheeses were actually next door.


Figure 5 Figure 6


For a cheese fan, the hidden treasure was in the next tent (Fig 7 &8), a massive amount of cheese, I don't know if there were 900, I didn't count, but suffice it to say, we were 'cheesed out' by the end of the night. We sampled the best cheeses in Britain, probably some were the best in Europe and that has to be something to remember.

I had hoped there would be more producers present to talk to their 'fans' about their cheeses; however, it had been a long hard week for them and someone has to make the cheese. Despite this, full marks to Simon Weaver Cotswold Organic Dairy (Fig 9) a local producer, along with Lightwood Cheese from Worcester who both managed to stomp up someone to talk to the punters about their cheeses.

Figure 7 Figure 8 Figure 9


On the positive side, we ate some fantastic cheeses, congratulations go to:
Lightwood Cheese for their Bronze in the soft white class, (fantastic cheese)
Simon Weaver for their Bronze in their soft blue, (again fantastic cheese)
Lyburn for their 2 Golds, a Silver and a Bronze (they are local to us),
Hampshire Cheese for their SUPREME CHAMPION for their Tunworth soft white.
Andy Swinscoe (The Courtyard Dairy) for his best new Cheese Retailer award, and many more too numerous to mention.

I suppose when it all comes down to it, the Cheese is why we were there; all the other stuff is superfluous.
The night got cold, the music was unexciting, so we went back to the B&B and had a lovely nights sleep in the exceptional bed, and breakfast was good too!