As summer drew to a close, there was one thing on the mind of all us SHWI foodies - cheese tasting!
On Thursday 17th September, SHWI was delighted to be joined by Simon Davidson from The Cheese Factor. Simon gave a wonderful insight in to how his father, Roy, established a successful cheese shop serving the good people of Chesterfield and North Derbyshire for over 50 years.
He told us tales of Roy's adventures in the Merchant Navy, to settling down in Chesterfield to try his hand at poultry farming, to becoming a door to door vacuum sales man before finally finding his passion for fine cheese.
Starting out by serving the cattle market, The Cheese factor soon became a staple for locals and eventually moved into the main Chesterfield market. Tales of Roy's profiteering techniques were reminiscent of Arkwright from Open All Hours, asking the bakery to deliver later in the morning to cash in on the warm fresh smelling bread! Whilst initially Simon wasn't keen on joining the family business, he eventually took over from his father who sadly died in 2011.
Simon then went on to tell us about the triumphant story of how a small consortium of locals saved Hartington's history of cheese production after a large corporate put profits over quality and closed the only remaining creamery in 2009. This small consortium battled for funding and investment but finally opened Hartington Creamery in 2012.
This is when Simon captured our full attention as it is from this very creamery that our fine cheese samples were produced. He handed around samples of both blue and white Stilton whilst explaining how it is produced, as well as giving us all a perfect pub quiz fact that Stilton can only be produced in 3 places in the world, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. If it's produced anywhere else it just ain't Stilton! Our small and tasty samples were delicious, particularly the white Stilton! But in the words of Wallace, Simon left us craving "more cheese Gromit!".
The Cheese Factor now has branched into the wholesale market, so good news for us as there are plenty of places in Sheffield to get our cheese fix.