The British Cheese Weekender organised by the Specialist Cheesemakers Association (SCA), the Academy of Cheese, the Guild of Fine Food and cheese writer Patrick McGuigan, will take place online on 8-10 May.
The events is designed to inspire the public to come together with small cheesemakers during the Covid-19 lockdown. It will feature masterclasses, virtual farm tours and tutored tastings, suitable for anyone from cheese beginners to fully-fledged curd nerds.
The line-up kicks off with a kid's cheese tasting session presented by Sam Wilkin, and virtual farm tours at Fen Farm Dairy in Suffolk and former World Cheese Awards champion Lynher Dairies in Cornwall, A guided tasting will take place on Instagram Live from Quicke's in Devon, Neal's Yard Dairy will host a behind-the-scenes tour of its premises and a Fondue Night cook-along will feature the Cheese Bar's Mathew Carver.
The programme will also include a 'History of British Cheese in 30 minutes' with author and cheesemonger Ned Palmer, information on cheese pairing, raw milk, sheep's milk and blue cheese, and a Cheese Question Time on Saturday night with some of the country's top experts.
Cheese fans will be able to put their knowledge to the test during Paxton & Whitfield's Cheese Pub Quiz and the weekend will be signed off with a presentation from the Specialist Cheesemakers Association (SCA), the Academy of Cheese, the Guild of Fine Food and Patrick McGuigan.
Tracey Colley, (pictured below) director of the Academy of Cheese, said: "We are absolutely thrilled to see how many experts from across our industry have wanted to take part in the British Cheese Weekender, from cheesemakers to cheese distributors we now have a multitude of virtual cheese events for everyone to join in with. The Academy of Cheese community of over 2,000 members are busy planning where to buy cheese for the weekend, and with so many fantastic artisan cheeses now available for direct delivery they are very excited!"
Catherine Mead, chair of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association, added: "There has been a remarkable response from the public to the crisis facing small cheesemakers in Britain. More and more people are buying farmhouse and artisan cheese direct from producers and independent retailers, which has been really heartening. But the future of the industry is still far from certain. Small cheesemakers have lost so many orders due to the closure of restaurants, pubs and farmers' markets that continued public support is essential if they are going to survive."
McGuigan said: "The British Cheese Weekender is about supporting small, family businesses that need our help, but it's also about having a bit of fun during the lockdown. And there aren't many better ways to spend a Bank Holiday weekend than by eating good cheese. All you have to do is buy some cheese from a small cheesemaker or indie retailer, tune into one of the free online talks and then eat along with the experts."
For more information, visit academyofcheese.org/british-cheese-weekender