Yorkshire Wensleydale PGI
Yorkshire Wensleydale PGI
Style: Traditional Wensleydale
Milk Type: Cow
Origin: Wensleydale, Yorkshire, UK
True, PGI Yorkshire Wensleydale, or as they say in Yorkshire “Proper Wensleydale”.
The agricultural settlements of the Yorkshire dales have been renowned for their cheeses for many centuries, but those cheeses have taken many different guises over the course of their long history: monastic sheep’s milk cheeses, soft blue cow’s milk cheeses, and now the modern white Wensleydale, which for a generation of cheese enthusiasts has become synonymous with Yorkshire.
Wensleydale Creamery, which sits at the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, produces the best version of this modern classic. Within the company, the version of Wensleydale cheese that we stock is known as ‘Kit Calvert Wensleydale’, after the local man who kept the factory solvent during a crisis in the 1930s. Unlike the standard block Wensleydale that dominates the market, this cheese is made using animal rennet, pressed into cylinders, and bound in cloth.
The Wensleydale Creamery prides itself on sourcing its milk from local farms and providing work to over two hundred residents of its rural area. In 2013, the company was awarded PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status for the name ‘Yorkshire Wensleydale’, in order to recognise and protect its important link with Yorkshire.
The Kit Calvert legacy of local entrepreneurship, strong management and geographical identity continued; in May 1992, Dairy Crest, a subsidiary of the Milk Marketing Board, closed the Hawes creamery with the loss of 59 jobs. Dairy Crest transferred production of Wensleydale cheese to Yorkshire's traditional rival, Lancashire. Six months later, in November 1992, following many rescue offers, 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.
Wensleydale Dairy Products sought to protect the name Yorkshire Wensleydale under an EU regulation; PGI status was awarded in 2013
On a recent visit to Wensleydale Creamery we learned of their investment into a £4m whey recycling plant, reducing operating costs, environmental impact and creating new product lines for the dairy.
First the 4% cream lost in whey production in filtered, creating delicious Wensleydale Butter.
A biogas plant, an anaerobic digester fuels 4000 Yorkshire homes using “Green Gas” producing methane gas burned to create electricity.
The remaining, cold whey is then sent through a complex filtration system, becoming clean water used in the cheese production, cleaning and even drinking water at the plant.
Whey residue remaining at the end of the process is sprayed onto local fields to improve soil condition.
If you happen to be in Northern England and visit to the Yorkshire Dales is more than worth your time. A visit to the Wensleydale creamery should be on any agenda, the award winning attraction has a tasting room the size of the Cornelius Cheese Cave just for sampling and buying all the cheese from the Dairy. As a bonus the views of the Dales are unrivalled.
Finally Wensleydale, is sighted by author George Orwell as being second only to Stilton amongst British Cheese in his book “In Defence of Cooking”
Our favourite quote on Wensleydale comes from the 1962 Novel - Hornblower and Hotspur
An epoch-making discovery, that Wensleydale cheese and port were a pair of heavenly twins.