Click here to go to the Viva Lewes homepage

National Cheese Week

After tasting a sliver of Brebis Augur, winner of the 2006 World Cheese Award, I try to describe what it tastes like to Fiona Kay, the owner of Cheese Please in the Old Needlemakers, who has given it to me to try. Fiona, who has been running the shop since July, is something of a cheese expert, who was one of a panel of international judges at the competition. “It tastes like… it tastes like…” I bumble, realising that I can’t begin to describe what it tastes like. I simply haven’t got the vocabulary for the way it hits three different parts of your palate at the same time, then another second later. “…it’s a taste sensation.”

From September 30th to October 8th it’s National Cheese Week and Fiona has contacted me to tell me that she will be offering a number of the cheeses that have been given the British Gold Award in the run-up to the celebrations. They have great names. Wensleydale Special Reserve, Ashdown Forester, Garlic Yarg, Nettle Yarg, Snowdonia Green Thunder… I’m intrigued, and pleased to be invited down to try a few.

Fiona was a Maths and PE teacher in Hove until she got voice problems and had to look for a new career. “I love cheese, and I decided to get to know more about it.” She went on a number of courses, and decided to set up shop in Lewes. It’s a great place, dominated by a Spanish-market style glass-fronted counter with scores of exotic-looking cheeses on offer underneath. “I can’t hope to compete with the supermarkets for price,” she tells me, “but I can offer much more variety. And I can assure you that all the cheeses here are in perfect condition. They have been well looked after."

Fiona Kay: sells pleasing cheeses with words-can’t-describe-them tastes