At some point in the dim and distant past, some random Yorkshire personage looked at their fruitcake and thought to themselves that a bit of Wensleydale would set it off just lovely like. Thus was a tradition born.
Centuries later we’re still at it. I had Wensleydale with fruitcake for elevenses on Sunday. No dried fruit is complete without a little nibbelette of the Good Stuff. And at the wedding, we served the cake with not one, but two cheeses of note. I hope you’ve figured out that one of these was Wensleydale.
The other was the delicious Wells Alpine, from the noble country of Norfolk.
This wasn’t a random choice, by the way, my fabulous Mother-in-Law lives there. A marvellous and dairytastic weekend took place pre-Christmas to select the Wells Alpine from amongst all the other local offerings. My idea of heaven. Beach walks and cheese tastings with people I love. Along with a visit to Bakers & Larners of Holt. I’ve written before about my passion for this store, so I won’t bore you again except to say that if you’re going anywhere near Holt, get thee hence with all due haste through their doors and then pootle around this treasure trove with due reverence. Then go to Byfords for lunch.
We nearly had a trauma because we couldn’t get any Wells Alpine before the wedding. I was emailing the lovely cheese maker and everything. The only Yorkshire stockist couldn’t guarantee they would have some, and it was proving rather elusive online. I may have cried actual tears over this.
So the Mother-in-Law flung herself on the mercy of Bakers & Larners, and lo! I arrived home from the dentists one day to find a leaky box on the doorstep. It was on one of those rare sunny days we had in May, so it’s a good job I am friends with the postman. He’d shoved it half into the hedge to try and keep it in the shade. I still have a cheese-box-shaped hole in the hedge, but let’s not be picky. I had cheese. And some rather soggy cardboard.
And, it went down a storm at the wedding – the cheese, not the cardboard, that is. There was some left, so that came to France. Apart from the bit which stayed with my folks, because I’ve succeeded in converting the Yorkshire branch of the family into Wells Alpine enthusiasts.
The other day I mentioned, as you do, that we’re off to Norfolk in August. This was met with cries of relief and several orders for cheese. The New Zealand branch are apparently jealous because they can’t have any – due to their import rules, not because I’m mean and don’t like them, before you mark me down as anti-Antipodean.
So I’m wondering if there’s something in this. Should I be setting up a stall? Perhaps starting a campaign to twin Yorkshire with Norfolk? Orchestrating a Cheese Exchange? Or perhaps starting an alternative career as a Cheese Trader?