A CHEESE specialist from the Booths store in Garstang joined star judges last week to seek out the finest fromages from around the world at this year’s Nantwich International Cheese Show.
Louise Metcalfe tasted a total of 38 cheeses at the prestigious contest alongside celebrity judges who included former Coronation Street actor Sean Wilson and Alex James who was the bassist in Blur – both of whom have turned cheese makers.
It was Louise’s job to steward the judges and award the winning cheeses gold, silver or bronze awards at the event which is now the biggest cheese competition in the world.
There were a record-breaking 3,730 entries at this year’s event which boasted cheeses from 24 different countries.
These included favourites such as Garstang Blue as well as more unusual flavours including cheeses made with marmalade, mint and even chocolate!
Louise says: “It was an excellent experience and I loved meeting all the different cheese makers.
“It was a great way to pick up snippets of information that I can pass on to customers and expand their knowledge of cheeses too.
“It’s amazing within one variety of cheese just how many different tastes there are.”
The event was all part of Booths new Cheese Specialist scheme which is designed to create a top-class team of in store food experts.
Each cheese specialist undergoes three months of training which includes everything from handling and wrapping cheese, serving suggestions and learning all about the cheese industry.
Louise and her fellow cheese specialists have been trained by some of the leading professionals in the field including Lancashire-based celebrity Phillipa James, Ian Coggin from Garstang cheese makers Dewlay and Dairycrest’s Alan Salt.
Booths cheese buyer Phil Godwin, who was one of the judges at Nantwich, says: “Booths offers a huge and varied selection of cheeses in its stores, many of which are sourced locally and made by small, artisan producers.
“Our cheese counters really are a cut above.
“To showcase this incredible range of cheeses we have a dedicated team of experts who are passionate about the produce and can talk to customers in a friendly and informative fashion.”