This is a unique tea towel; it is cream cotton with the logo of Wensleydale Creamery at the top and has a translation of the famous 23rd Psalm from the bible into full Yorkshire dialect. At first, you may think this is a joke, a bit of fun but it is a full translation and there is a good reason why this would be the subject of a tea towel publicising the Wensleydale Creamery and this goes back to the history of the Creamery. It is in honour of Kit Calvert, a legend in these parts, who in 1930’s, led the rescue of Wensleydale Creamery from closure. He was a Champion of the Yorkshire dialect. A tea towel in full Yorkshire dialect and the Calvert Restaurant both recognise the importance of this man to the area.
Cheese has been made in Wensleydale since 1150 when the Cistercian monks lived in their monastery in Fors. Wensleydale cheese was originally made from sheep’s milk. Wensleydale cheese has suffered the same fate as Stilton cheese, Parma ham and Champagne. These were all native to a particular area or region, produced by time honoured techniques when ‘imposters’ come along and try to reproduce the same thing at a cheaper cost but using the same name. However, Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese has been awarded the prestigious European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status meaning that only Wensleydale cheese made actually in Wensleydale can call itself Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese. This is a treasured award for a food manufacturer because it stops ‘imposters’ trading sub-standard, and often therefore cheaper, produce under the name of Wensleydale. When you go into most supermarkets the Wensleydale cheese on sale has never been near Wensleydale, and you know that by the name.
Wensleydale Creamery is a great place for a day out. Using the tea towel, and trying to pronounce the dialect, Wallace and Gromit is a help in this matter. I remember the Cheese Museum which tells the story of how Wensleydale cheese has been made over the centuries. There is some old cheese making equipment on display – although not much has changed in the processes over the years. I remember being fascinated by the Cheesemaking Viewing Gallery where the time-honoured art of cutting, stirring, pitching and salting takes place. While there is a lot of big pieces of machinery used, there is still a lot of physical work involved.
This is a great place for shopping because they have lots of original ideas. I did my Christmas shopping here because they did a great line in Wallace and Gromit items like biscuit tins, mugs etc (but no tea towels). There was a separate cheese shop in a cooled area with a half circle counter; you go in though one door, follow the counter round and out of another door – a very civilised way to stop people jumping the queue. There were a huge array of cheeses, all of which you can taste before buying. I bought Wallace and Gromit Yorkshire Wensleydale as well as a Sheep’s Milk version plus a Coverdale Cheddar. There are many blended cheeses which are very popular – Yorkshire Wensleydale with apricot or cranberries. Personally, for me, cheese shouldn’t have things added into it; if you want to eat apricots with cheese have them on the side of your plate. Everyone to their own. I had a lovely day out, finishing with cheese on toast. The Wensleydale Tea Towel is unusual but a great way to remember that I can order Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese online and that is what I am going to do.
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