Thieves make off with prize-win­ning cheeses

The Guardian Weekly - - Diversions - Steven Mor­ris

A Som­er­set cheese­maker has of­fered a £500 ($650) re­ward af­ter two of its finest vin­tage ched­dars were stolen dur­ing a pres­ti­gious show.

The judges at the Yeovil show had crowned the two hefty blocks of cheese cham­pion and re­serve cham­pion and the spec­i­mens were left in a mar­quee overnight so that they could be ad­mired by mem­bers of the pub­lic next day.

Thieves took the blocks, weigh­ing 20kg each and with a re­tail value of around £800, and the win­ners’ cer­tifi­cates from the tent.

The cheese­mak­ers at Wyke Farms in Bru­ton, Som­er­set, were up­set that two of the best blocks they had ever pro­duced have van­ished.

Rich Cloth­ier, a third-gen­er­a­tion cheese­maker and the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Wyke Farms, said he be­lieved the thieves had tar­geted the prize-win­ning ched­dars and may have been steal­ing to or­der.

Cloth­ier said that while the re­tail value was put at £800 it is pos­si­ble that they could be worth much more if the right wealthy cheese-lov­ing cus­tomers were found.

He said: “These cheeses could be con­sid­ered mas­ter­pieces; it’s a bit like hav­ing a valu­able paint­ing stolen.” Cloth­ier said he was proud of the cheeses’ “rounded flavour” with tones of “dairy, sweet and nut­ti­ness”. “They were com­plex, like a fine bot­tle of wine.”

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