Sometimes I go out to look for cheese …other times it finds me! Recently I went to Northumberland for a wedding and that caused me to spend a couple of hours in Newcastle. It’s a great lively city where something is always happening and on this visit I stumbled across the small farmer’s market held near Grey’s Monument (right in the centre of the city), my luck was in because it is only held on the first Friday of every month. All products on the market must be raised, grown or produced within 50 miles of Newcastle and that circumference includes several good cheese-makers. Lacey’s Cheese of Richmond in Yorkshire and the Northumberland Cheese Company both had stalls at the market and I chatted to Simon Lacey before buying his Wensleydale cheese.
The stall-holder at the Northumberland Cheese Company was engrossed in conversation with a customer but I managed to buy a portion of his prize-winning Redesdale cheese made from pasteurised sheep’s milk.
The wedding celebrations were very happy and I stayed on for a couple of days to explore this extraordinary part of Britain where the most beautiful countryside and coastline lives cheek by jowl with industry and you are acutely conscious of a rollercoaster ride of social and industrial history.
On the way back to Putney, I promised myself a visit to Newcastle’s famous Grainger Market, an extensive traditional covered market, to see Matthews Cheese (billed as “A veritable Aladdin’s cave of cheesy treasures, Matthew’s Cheese Specialists offers the choice of over 100 English and Continental cheeses – and they have been doing so for over 50 years. “). Alas Newcastle council workers’ strike had closed the market that day –there’s always something happening in Newcastle ..and I will save this treat up for the future.