Cheese takes over as the main attraction at Cardiff Castle from 22 to 23 September this year when thousands of cheese lovers make their annual pilgrimage to the Great British Cheese Festival.

The Great British Cheese Festival

The Great British Cheese Festival, is an annual autumn event held at Cardiff Castle that has been recently voted number two food festival in the British Isles putting the cheese festival in second place behind the Galway Oyster Festival and ahead of similar more established events such as the Abergavenny and Ludlow food festivals and the renowned Isle of Wight Garlic Festival.

In its description of the festival, the Independent says: “There are more than 400 cheeses on offer here: some are local champions, others national winners – all are the very best around.”

After moving around the British Isles after its inception in 2000 The Great British Cheese Festival has finally made its permanent home right in the middle of the Welsh capital within the magnificent setting of Cardiff Castle. Foodie fans gather together to try, taste and buy from the finest selection of Great British cheeses available in one place.

Debrett’s the modern authority on all matters of etiquette, social occasions, people of distinction and fine style, describe the event as a mix of a royal picnic and a ‘farmers’ market with attitude’.

Britain’s Biggest Cheese Market

The festival features Britain’s biggest cheese market (with nearly 200 stalls and over 450 British and Irish cheeses to sample and buy.

Here you’ll find members of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association along with their delicious, award-winning cheeses such as Godminster, Lincolnshire Poacher, Cashel and Barkham Blue. Visitors will get to discover many of the delicacies that are difficult to track down and the opportunity to meet and talk cheese with many of Britain’s finest cheesemakers.

Tickets are available in advance via the website, or if still available on the gate. It is anticipated that some 10,000 cheese lovers from around the world will descend into the Welsh capital for the event which runs from 22 to 23 September this year. For those visitors wishing to stay overnight it is recommended that they make hotel reservations as soon as they have secured tickets.

Helen Finnegan from Kilree, near Dublin, was crowned Supreme Champion cheese-maker at the British Cheese Awards held at Cardiff City Hall on the eve of the 2011 festival.

Her Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese, a homemade goat’s cheese, wowed the judges, and she says it was because “there is wetter grass in Ireland”.

“It gives the milk more flavour,” she said.

“For us, this event is huge. It just opens the door to the UK market and allows us to trade to all the big supermarkets.

“It’s amazing how many people love cheese. This is a real celebration for cheese-making.”

Tickets are available in advance via the website, or are available on the gate. Please note that the festival gets extremely busy, so get there early to avoid disappointment.

British Cheese Week

Cheesemakers, retailers and chefs around the country will host various tastings & events during British Cheese Week find out more here.

British Cheese Week coincides with the British Food Fortnigh and starts with the announcement of the winners at the Awards Dinner on Friday 21st September and the opening of the Great British Cheese Festival on Saturday 22nd September.

Munch on Britain!