Do you know your Fine Fettle from your Feta or your Barncliffe Brie from your Buffalo Blue?
I didn’t. But regardless, I decided to attend a night at the Adelphi pub with Leeds-based cheese appreciation society, Homage2Fromage.
As I walked up the stairs of the lively Adelphi pub, I was unsure of what to expect from my first Homage2Fromage experience. Having a very basic knowledge of cheese, I was a little concerned that more seasoned visitors would be able to sniff me out like a bad stilton! I could not have been more wrong. Club founders Vickie Rogerson and Nick Copland were there to greet everybody upon arrival and were so welcoming that you could not help but feel at ease. Every guest was told to grab a plate and help themselves to the six different Yorkshire cheeses around the room, which of course, we were all happy to do!
Nick and Vickie founded Homage2Fromage back in October 2011. The Yorkshire cheese night was their fifth monthly club and saw the largest turnout of visitors to date, with thirty-five members and twenty-five non-members (or as Nick preferred to call us, ‘pre-members’!) With music on, drinks flowing and plenty of cheese, everybody was able to socialise and take in some great food in a relaxed environment.
The cheese itself was cut into chunks piled up generously on different tables around the room. On each table there was also a mouth-watering selection of crackers, grapes, olives and various delicious relishes. In-keeping with the Yorkshire theme of the night, the relishes were all made by Pudsey Pickles, and included flavours such as roast onion and jalapeno, cider apple, chilli jam and red onion and cranberry with port.
There was a real mix of people in the room. City-slickers came to unwind after work with friends in a fun atmosphere, couples cosied up with cheese and wine, foodies came to expand their knowledge and there were those who simply wanted to discover a new taste sensation!
After everyone had time to eat, we proceeded to gather round as Vickie and Nick talked us through the cheeses. Although informative, this was far from a lecture. With their bubbly personalities and quick wit, passers-by wouldn’t be far wrong in thinking that there was a stand-up comedy show inside! Amongst the six Yorkshire cheeses were: Barncliffe Brie (the only Yorkshire-made brie); the award-winning Buffalo Blue; the Yorkshire Fine Fettle (as only cheese made in Greece can be called feta); the luxurious (and calorific) Fountain’s Gold and the traditionally Yorkshire Wensleydale Smoked. The star of the show however, was the Swaledale with Theakston’s Old Peculiar Ale. This cheese combined two Yorkshire favourites- cheese and beer. At this point, Vickie and Nick paid tribute to award-winning cheesemaker Mandy Reed, who has recently very sadly passed away. Since 1987, Mandy ran the Swaledale Cheese Company with her husband David, and took over running the business in 2005 after his death. The wonderful Swaledale with Theakstons Old Peculiar Ale was a firm favourite all-round.
Often, Nick and Vickie arrange for a mystery guest to make a special appearance during Homage2Fromage’s monthly meet-ups. Past guests have included Blur singer and cheesemaker Alex James. This month, special guest Richard Holmes came along to talk about his successful Cheesemonger business, which started back in 1997 with the launch of his local rhubarb cheese-
Ruby Gold. Since then, business has boomed and awards have kept on coming for this fantastic family-run Yorkshire business. Click www.cryerandstott.co.uk to visit Cryer&Stott’s website.
It is not essential to have a wealth of specialist knowledge in order to attend Homage2Fromage- as Vickie and Nick put it themselves: ‘we are not cheese experts, we are cheese enthusiasts!’ Overall, a great venue, great people, gorgeous cheese, and thankfully no nightmares! If you love cheese, I would definitely recommend Homage2Fromage. To learn more, click here www.homage2fromageleeds.ning.com to visit Nick and Vickie’s website. You can also follow @Homage2Fromage on Twitter to keep updated with the latest events around Leeds.