Butler’s Cheese clears the board at the 2013 International Cheese Awards
PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 September 2013
The red rose county swept the board at the International Cheese Show with Butler’s leading the charge. Roger Borrell reports
They didn’t need any excuses to celebrate down at Butler’s Cheese in the Lancashire village of Inglewhite after picking up a remarkable haul of prizes at the International Cheese Awards.
In all, they secured six trophies, 11 gold medals, four silvers, three bronzes and they were highly commended five times. It means they are this year’s most successful cheesemakers.
The celebrations were particular joyful as one of the top trophies went to their version of Tasty Lancashire from a recipe perfected by the matriarch of the business, Jean Butler. It coincided with her 75th birthday - and that really made the part go with a swing.
Her daughter, Gill Hall, whose family founded Butlers in the 1930s, said: ‘It was a remarkable show – our best ever. We have won plenty of awards but this was amazing when you consider that these days there are 4,300 cheeses competing.’
Blacksticks Blue, described by celebrity chef Simon Rimmer as ‘the daddy of blue cheeses’, lead the way at the Nantwich show with three gold medals and two trophies.
‘Blacksticks is still our biggest success,’ said Gill. ‘We developed it ten years ago and the business has been booming. We were also pleased that our Sweet and Nutty Inglewhite goat cheese was also a winner.’ This Gouda-like cheese is produced with milk from 1,000 goats tended in Inglewhite by family member Nicola Butler.
So were Butler’s competitors a little cheesed off? ‘No, the industry is friendly because it’s based on the agricultural community,’ added Gill. ‘We all come together for the greater good to sell more cheese and educate the public about the great cheese we produce in this country.’
However, that doesn’t stop Gill and the team doing their level best to ensure the jewel in their crown, Blacksticks Blue, overtakes Stilton as the cheese of choice this Christmas. That would be another reason to celebrate.
The tremendous strength of Lancashire cheese-making was certainly appreciated by the Nantwich judges. As well as Butlers, there were top awards for Dewlay, Carron Lodge, Leagrams and J.J.Sandham.