Lake District-based St. James has been awarded an artisan food award by food and drink journalist and broadcaster Nigel Barden and premium cooking appliance manufacturer Britannia.
A small family-run ewe’s cheese dairy based in Grange-Over-Sands, St. James is the hard work of cheese maker Martin Gott and his partner Nicola. Instead of producing a commercial product in vast quantities, the pair focus on producing a relatively small amount of cheese of the highest quality, in a variety of interesting and unusual flavours.
Hawkshead Relish, based in Esthwaite Water, also in the Lake District, took second place with its Indian Sweet Pepper Pickle. And Our Paula’s of Chorley in Lancashire was awarded third place for its vegan Garlic Butter.
Nigel Barden commented on the winning producer: ‘’St. James, our Gold Medal champion, combines excellent agricultural husbandry with the ability to create one of the great artisan, seasonal products, which can vary depending on the time of year, the rainfall, the condition of the grass.
“These relaxed sheep are only milked once a day and the ensuing cheese is washed three times a week for a month, in brine, to produce a delicate orange rind and a 2kg square cheese, about 2.5in thick, that was soft, gooey, spongy, sweet and yet also savoury. Complex and intriguing with an enticing rich and gently astringent nose.”
Jane Rylands, Head of Marketing Communications for Britannia, said: “We’re thrilled with the volume of entries we’ve had from the North where we’ve been proud to host the Britannia Artisan Food Collection. From craft cider and beer to dairies, delis and bistros, we’ve uncovered some hidden gems and hope people visit our map to discover the artisanal
delights we’ve been lucky enough to find.”
The Britannia Artisan Food Collection launched at the end of last year in Wales. The public was invited to nominate artisan food producers from across the country. A shortlist was chosen by Nigel Barden and awarded a place on Britannia’s Artisan Food Collection map, before a top three were chosen and a winner awarded.
The North was the fourth of six countries and regions the Britannia Artisan Food Collection will visit.