Well we’ve all heard of extinct animals – today though, I’m going to tell you a story of an extinct cheese.
What’s more, it’s a very recent demise – and one which just so happens to have taken place here in my home town of Nottingham…
Now Nottinghamshire is a bit of a powerhouse on the quiet when it comes to cheese production – with much of the world’s Stilton produced in Cropwell Bishop and Colston Basset.
But back in 2013, it was actually a completely different cheese that bagged the region a whole truckload of media attention – namely a traditional local one dating all the way back to the 1600s called Colwick cheese.
And to be fair it was a great story – with a small local family-run creamery having decided to resurrect Colwick cheese, after it had had gone out of production in the early 90s…
A soft and curdy little number, the return of Colwick cheese seemed to capture people’s imagination in Nottingham and beyond. Even the TV chef Jamie Oliver seemed taken with it – in 2014 him and Jimmy Doherty featured it on their TV show ‘Friday Night Feast’.
“This is not a cheese for a supermarket,” he said. “This is a cheese for butcher’s shops, delis, restaurants and pubs. I’m excited to communicate this story, this is just a beautiful, beautiful thing.”
Four years on though from that TV appearance, Colwick cheese is once again no more – as it seems the folk at Belvoir Ridge creamery who brought it back to life have decided to call time on production.
The reasons for this decision are a little bit shrouded in mystery. There’s nothing on either the Belvoir Ridge website and social media accounts – indeed, none of them seem to have been updated for months.
Sadly though, the demise of the cheese has been confirmed by what is probably the region’s greatest authority on cheese – namely the wonderful emporium that is the Cheese Shop in Nottingham city centre, which confirmed the news a few days ago on its Facebook page.
And there wasn’t even a chance to bid farewell. The decision by the creamery to cease production was with immediate effect – and with Colwick cheese being a fresh cheese, it’s already disappeared from the cheese counters of stockists.
So there we go then – disappointing news, without a doubt. Colwick was an excellent cheese, and the way it was brought back from the dead back in 2013 was a compelling tale.
Personally, my favourite memory of Colwick cheese was visiting an uncle who was seriously ill in hospital – and smuggling some of the newly-resurrected cheese onto the ward for him.
During a previous visit to see him, he’d told me that he’d heard the cheese was being made again, and talked about how he used to like it back in the day. It can be hard to raise the spirits of folk who are stuck in hospital – but it made my uncle’s day when I brought some in for him.
Colwick cheese then – don’t be sad because it’s over. Smile because it happened…