Farmers behind Lincolnshire’s only soft cheese are celebrating a national accolade which came ‘out of the blue’.
Michael and Mary Davenport of Cote Hill Cheese can expect their soft-blue veined Cote Hill Blue cheese to be in even bigger demand after it was named runner-up in the Great British Cheese Awards’ artisan cheese category.
This year’s competition attracted a record 9,000 voters.
Cote Hill Blue is one of four cheeses made by the busy family from Osgodby, near Market Rasen, and it has proved to be a hot favourite with a growing number of cheese lovers, although the farm’s other varieties, Cote Hill Yellow, Red and Lindum are also much loved.
Cote Hill Blue, a soft creamy variety, is totally produced at the Davenports’ farm near Market Rasen, where the family keep 80 British Friesian and Holstein cattle.
Michael and Mary were invited to the Great British Cheese Awards in the elegant surroundings of The Gilbert Scott restaurant and bar within London’s St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
Michael said: “It was fantastic to do so well in the awards. What is so very special about this competition is that the finalists are decided based on what members of the public think.
“People are invited to vote for their favourite cheeses and those which receive the most votes form a shortlist of cheeses. These are judged by food industry experts before the winners are announced across a variety of categories.
“Our cheese made it through to the final seven in the artisan cheese category and we were just pipped to the top prize by Fen Farm Dairy in Bungay.”
Cote Hill has been home to the Davenport family for 50 years, where they have always milked cows and have a herd of 80 cattle.
Today two of Michael and Mary’s four sons, Joe and Ross – along with Joe’s wife Laura – also play their part, and even Joe and Laura’s daughter Edith (three) has been known to get in on the act. Last year Edith appeared on CBeebies making cheese with her dad and Granny Mary.