An invite popped into my inbox recently which I will admit, I was far too excited for than should probably be allowed. Nope, it was nothing to do with fashion week or anything like that. It was to visit the Royal Bath and West Show as the guests of Barber's 1833. The show is basically one big food/animal/agricultural show, complete with acres of stalls, food halls and animal shows. It's typically British and has my name written all over it. I'd been previously, but never as the guest of such a distinguished company. In the world of cheese (which is a good world to be in of course) Barber's 1833 are rather special. They are the oldest cheddar makers in the world, and their farm in Somerset has been going for many years, still being family run.
Rosie and I donned our Barbour and Tweed jackets, and off to Shepton Mallet we went. And I vlogged the whole thing, just for your entertainment.
We made some new friends at the show, in the name of pigs, cows and very loud sheep. I think we could have stayed in the animal sections for the whole day had we had the time. Rosie was particularly in love with the pigs, and I built a relationship with a sheep.
Rosie found her calling in life - she's been in the wrong industry so far, so it seems! We actually tried quite a few cider's on the day, but this was definitely one of our favourite brands. I liked it even more as the packaging had a Jack Russell Terrier on the front.
Now, with Barbers 1833, the challenge was to make a rather gourmet cheese toastie. I can honestly say that I have never felt so pressured in all of my life to make, what I would consider, a rather standard meal. Our toasties were prepared and went out to a panel of judges in white coats and aprons. We had to use Barbers Cheddar in the ingredients, so I went for parma ham, spring onion and black pepper. Rosie went for four cheeses (including some delicious goats cheese) and chutney. Amazingly, I came second which was rather exciting.
We then had a talk from Sheppy's cider which is local to Taunton in Somerset, and had a tasting session to see what ciders went best with the Barbers cheddar. I absolutely loved this part as I enjoy learning about alcohol and what suits different ingredients. Rosie was incredibly excited by this part too, as you can see. That is a face of pure cheese and cider happiness.
We finished off with a talk about some of the winning cheeses, and this fellow with a rather nice 'official dairy judge' badge told us all we needed to know. Being in a room full of cheese was rather surreal but as you can imagine, we weren't complaining as there was lots of tasting involved. (Ideal).
It was an absolutely fantastic day and I urge everyone to make the trip for a seriously wonderful day out. There is something for everyone at the Royal Bath and West Show, be it the animals, the amazing food, the shows or just the shopping. Rosie and I were in our element and we could have done with another day there if we'd had the chance.
Thank you to Barbers 1833 for reigniting my love for yummy cheese toasties.