I’ve never been to a Cheese Fest before but I knew to expect cheese! However, I don’t think I appreciated quite how much cheese there was going to be!!
Cheese Fest Exeter
We went to Cheese Fest on a very cold and snowy day in March. The events are hosted by Cheese Fest UK, who travel around the county encouraging people to attend their “amazing cheese spectacle”.
We arrived at the Matford Centre, Exeter, parked easily and joined the queue to enter. Cheese Fest UK offers ticketed slots for their festivals to ensure they don’t get too busy and people get a chance to look around the stalls and try the cheeses without having to wade through crowds of people. We went to the 2-4pm slot and although it was still busy, it wasn’t annoying and we didn’t have to push our way to the front of any queues to try the cheese samples too much!
You can check out the Cheese Fest website and their upcoming events here. Tickets can be brought online and start at £5.
So Much Cheese!
Inside the Matford Centre were lots of exciting stalls full of different and exciting cheeses to try. All the stalls were offering free samples and were happy to talk to us about their cheeses, how they were made and where they came from. The cheeses came from all over the UK and I was pleased to see the Cornish Goulda Co there whose cheeses I have tried many times!
Some of the stalls had such awesome looking displays; some of which featured some of the biggest cheese wheels I have ever seen! One stall was even selling cheeses that looked like a cross between a bath bomb and Christmas decoration! They even had glitter on them too!
Aside from cheese stalls there were plenty of other offerings available to try and buy. There was a beef jerky stand, turkish delight stall, bowls and bowls of tasty looking olives and a vendor selling the best looking cheesecakes. I had to really restrain myself from taking a variety of cheesecake slices home!
There was a good atmosphere at the festival, people seemed to be having a genuinely good time. Many people (including me) were singing along to the live band playing on the stage.
Time for a Cheesy Treat!
As well as a bar inside there was a handful of street food vendors outside selling hot food. On offer was lots of tasty cheese related food including brie baps, mozzarella sticks and posh cheese toasties! My friend Jenny opted for the classic Canadian dish poutine – chips covered in gravy, topped with cheese curls. My friend Charlie and I settled for some halloumi fries which were so delicious! We had to wait quite a while for them as the stall appeared very popular. Drizzled with sweet chilli sauce, sour cream and topped with spring onions and pomegranates they were heavenly and luckily worth the wait! We ate them back inside the centre whilst watching Sean Wilson (aka Martin Platt from soap Coronation Street) doing a cooking demonstration.
Actor Sean Wilson makes his own cheese and doing both the cooking demonstration and promoting his cheeses from Saddleworth Cheese Co. He was super friendly and chatted to people in the audience whilst he cooked a giant yorkshire pudding filled with roast beef and gravy and created a fruit and cream flan. Once he had made the food he served it all and put it at the front of the stage for people to dig into. And dig in they did, with their hands! Sean let us Corrie fans know that he was returning to the soap at the end of March so I vowed to watch out for him!
We left Cheese Fest after spending a good two hours sampling cheeses and milling around the stalls. I treated myself to a Triple Chocolate Indulgence Cheese from the Great British Cheese Company. Yes I did say chocolate cheese! This might sound odd to those that haven’t tried it, however it’s actually a winning taste combination in my eyes! It was the last one the company had to sell so I believe it was meant to be that I brought it!
With bellies full of cheese and feeling happy and satisfied we made out way back to the car – not before nabbing a bag of free cheesy popcorn for later!
This was the first time Cheese Fest UK had come to Exeter and it seems like it was a roaring success. The place was busy, buzzing with cheese lovers and many stalls were selling out of cheeses by the time I had arrived. I’m sure Cheese Fest will be back to Exeter next year – and I’ll be there too!
For more cheese loaded pictures take a look at Cheese Fest UK’s Instagram page!