Wensleydale (cheese)

Wensleydale (cheese)

Infobox Cheese
name = Wensleydale

othernames =
country = England
regiontown = Wensleydale,
North Yorkshire
region =
town =
source = Cows or ewes
pasteurised = Yes
texture = medium, crumbly
fat =
protein =
dimensions =
weight =
aging = 3-6 months
certification = None

Wensleydale cheese is a cheese produced in the town of Hawes in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, England. There are four types, all of which are suitable for vegetarians:
*Real Yorkshire Wensleydale is usually shaped into a variety of weights in a range of moulds from a small flat disc known as a "truckle" that is highly pressed, and preserved in wax, to several larger cheeses - it has an acidic-honeyed flavour to it;
*Mature Wensleydale is a harder, more highly-flavoured version of the Real Yorkshire Wensleydale and highly prized by cheese connoisseurs;
*Blue Wensleydale has blue veins and is produced in range of sizes. It is highly flavoured but less salty than the classic British blue cheese - Stilton.
*Smoked Wensleydale is cold smoked to produce a cheese with a special tang and texture.

Flavour and texture

The Wensleydale pastures give the cheese the unique flavour for which it is renowned. Good Wensleydale has a supple, crumbly, moist texture and resembles a young Caerphilly. The flavour suggests wild honey balanced with a fresh acidity.Cite web
title=Wensleydale Cheese
publisher=Lawsons Cheeses Direct
] Cite web
title=Real Yorkshire Wensleydale
publisher=Wensleydale Creamery


Wensleydale cheese was first made by French Cistercian monks from the Roquefort region, who had settled in Wensleydale. They built a monastery at Fors, but some years later the monks moved to Jervaulx in Lower Wensleydale. They brought with them a recipe for making cheese from sheep's milk. During the 1300s cows' milk began to be used instead, and the character of the cheese began to change. A little ewes' milk was still mixed in since it gave a more open texture, and allowed the development of the blue mould. At that time, Wensleydale was almost always blue with the white variety almost unknown. Nowadays, the opposite is true, with blue Wensleydale rarely seen. When the monastery was dissolved in 1540 the local farmers continued making the cheese right up until the Second World War, during which most milk in the country was used for the making of 'Government Cheddar'. [cite web
title=Practically Edible
] Even after rationing ceased in 1954, cheese making did not return to pre-war levels.Cite web
title=History of Wensleydale Cheese
publisher=Wensleydale Creamery

Dairy Crest and the management buyout

Wensleydale Creamery has been hand crafting cheese for more than 100 years to time-honoured traditional recipes.

In May 1992 Dairy Crest, a subsidiary of the Milk Marketing Board, closed the Hawes creamery with the loss of 59 jobs. This was the last creamery in the dale. Dairy Crest transferred production of Wensleydale cheese to Yorkshire's traditional rival, Lancashire.

Six months later, in November 1992, following many offers to rescue the Creamery, a management buyout took place, led by local businessman, John Gibson, and the management team. With the help of eleven members of the former workforce, cheese making recommenced in Wensleydale. Today Wensleydale Dairy Products is a thriving business, producing award-winning cheeses. [cite web
title=Cheese firm wins overseas contracts worth millions (From The Northern Echo)
] It employs 190 local people and buys from 36 farms in Wensleydale.

Wallace and Gromit

In the 1990s, sales had fallen so low that production was at risk of being suspended. [cite web
title=Wensleydale is big cheese in world awards - Yorkshire Post
] However, the popular Wallace and Gromit animated shorts "A Grand Day Out" and "A Close Shave" had the main character Wallace mention Wensleydale as a particularly favourite cheese. Animator Nick Park chose it solely because it had a good name that would be interesting to animate, unaware of the company's financial difficulties. [cite web
title=A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit (1989)
] The company contacted Aardman Animations about a licence for a special brand of "Wallace and Gromit Wensleydale", which proved to be an enormous success. [cite web
] When the 2005 full-length Wallace and Gromit movie, "", was released, sales of Wensleydale cheeses jumped by 23%.Cite web
title=Wallace & Gromit Boost Cheese Sales
publisher=Hearst Communications Inc.
] [cite web
title=SFGate: Daily Dish : Wallace and Gromit Boost Cheese Sales

eeking protected status

Wensleydale Dairy Products is seeking to protect the Wensleydale Cheese name from other manufacturers, following the announcement that it is to make a submission for Protected designation of origin for Real Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese. [cite web
title=Yorkshire Post: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars, Entertainments & More

Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) aims to promote and protect food products in the European Union, and is used to describe foodstuffs which are produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area using recognised know-how. This will mean that any manufacturers outside Wensleydale will be unable to call a cheese Real Yorkshire Wensleydale.

The application process involves the first stage submission and approval by DEFRA after which the application is submitted to the European Union. [ cite web|url=http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodrin/foodname/pfn/products/documents/yorks-wensleydale-cheese-pdo.pdf |title=Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese |accessdate=2008-07-31 |publisher=DEFRA ]

Common flavour combinations

The flavour of Wensleydale is suited to combination with sweeter produce, such as fruit. A popular combination available in many restaurants and delicatessens is Wensleydale containing cranberries. In the north-east of England it is often consumed with fruit cake or Christmas cake. [cite web
title=Tesco Finest Wensleydale - Cranberry And Blueberry - Review - The Finest Wensleydale in the land
] [cite web
title=Hawes United Kingdom - Wensleydale and Swaledale. [photos later]

ee also

*List of cheeses
*List of British cheeses


External links

* [http://www.wensleydale.co.uk/ Wensleydale Creamery]

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