In stepping up this week and last to the metaphysical podium, it’s no secret, especially to those who make, love and follow our small company’s cheese related stories, that we have scooped more than a handful of prizes at The Devon County Show and latterly at the British Cheese Awards 2018. Hooray!
Then there was last year's World Cheese Awards, not to mention The Global Cheese Awards coming up this September… and if you've ever entered our shop down here in Cheddar you will have seen a wall full of ribbons and certificates. You’d think that winning any more would mean significantly less but in fact, the opposite is true, and here’s why.
We don't make cheese to win awards. We make the best cheese we can everyday, by hand and no one can ever tell exactly what that cheese is going to taste like in six months, one year or in two years time. So, it’s very gratifying when our cheese wins a gold, silver or bronze. It means that we are selling our customers, award-winning and nationally acclaimed cheese. In fact, some of the best cheddar in the country. And of that, we are extremely proud.
Cheese Awards are judged by professionals. They might judge or taste hundreds of cheeses in a category or show. Awards are judged by smell and taste. As one recent judge commented, ‘a good cheese should make you smile and set itself apart from the rest of the competition.’ There is experience at work here and well informed judgement.
Awards help many people understand why our good quality home produced cheeses are some of the best in the world, and miles away from the cheaply produced, industrialised cheddar cheese that so many of us were brought up tasting.
Awards are an accolade for the Cheesemakers, whose hands on craft, judgement and sheer hard work happens every day, come rain or shine. That is long, hot, hard and heavy work in the dairy. Trust us, they care! And the award is an accolade for them and for every member of our team - especially those who stand in the shop every day offering tasters and explaining why the cheese tastes like it does.
And finally - awards are for the Spencers, who built and crafted this business into a world recognised producer of artisan Cheddar. This enables us to stand beside and hold our head up with the handful of genuine producers of Traditional Cheddar Cheese in the South West.
And no, we can never rest on our laurels, because the cheese we make today will only win awards in one and two years time if we keep our eye on the ball and strive to work hard every day to ensure that is the case.