Forget runny French brie, salty Greek feta or nutty Dutch gouda - British cheese now takes the biscuit.

In an age where food miles count and buying local is all-important, there's no better time to celebrate the 450 varieties of cheese made in the UK during British Cheese Week (September 27-October 5).

Nor is there any doubt that we're a nation of cheese-lovers - Britons consume about 590,000 tonnes of cheese a year, equivalent to about 10kg per person per year!

Industry expert David Hartley - boss of the Wensleydale Creamery made famous by animated characters Wallace and Gromit - is passionate about British cheese, preserving its heritage and keeping its time-honoured production methods alive.

"There are British cheeses to suit all tastes from creamy varieties with a mild flavour, to blues with a more robust character," he says.

"I would urge shoppers to take this opportunity to buy British and see how favourably British cheeses compare with those produced abroad."

David has a friend in Andrew Turner, chef at the renowned Landau at the Langham Hotel in London, who is so keen on British cheese that he even admits to missing it while working in France.

"Now I miss French bread to go with the great British cheeses that I surround myself with at the Landau and at home," he laughs.

Andrew was a big Montgomery cheddar fan as a child, but his current favourite is Golden Cross goat's cheese, made in Lewes, East Sussex.

He says British Cheese Week is a great chance to show your kids what cheese is all about.

"When my kids were younger, especially my son, they were picky with some of the stuff they ate, but luckily they always liked cheese. They especially like Somerset brie," he says.

"Going to cheese festivals is a great way of understanding British cheese. Cheese is good for us, eaten in the right quantities - even though cheese strings are processed, it is a fun way to get kids to eat cheese and that may be the start of them moving on to a love of real, high quality cheese."

If your children aren't keen on eating anything other than processed cheeses, Andrew suggests using a little subterfuge.

"With my Clanger recipe [below] the cheese is out of sight, so it is always okay to trick them," he says.

"Another fun activity would be to blindfold them and give them a cheese taste test with several varieties and with several textures."

Alternatively, Andrew suggests starting with good old-fashioned cheese on toast, or using cheese in sauces.

"It's the easiest way to introduce cheese to kids, and serving it warm is easier than the cold route," he says.

Andrew has created the following two cheese-filled recipes featuring Hovis bread to mark the comeback of the unsliced Hovis Little Brown Loaf, now available in supermarkets nationwide. Say cheese!


3 onions, chopped
3 carrots cut into 5mm (1/4in) dice
3 celery sticks, cut into 5mm (1/4in) dice
50ml (2fl oz) olive oil
25g (1oz) unsalted butter
1 bay leaf
1 large garlic clove, crushed
6 smoked back bacon rashers, rinded and cut into strips
900g (2lb) ripe tomatoes, preferably plum
600-900 ml (1 - 1 1/2 pints) chicken or vegetable stock
Small bunch of fresh basil, chopped
Small bunch of fresh tarragon, chopped
Tomato puree (optional, to taste)
Salt and pepper
1 log (225g) Golden Cross goat's cheese
1 unsliced Little Brown Hovis Loaf
6-8tsp pesto
Sweat the chopped onions, carrots and celery in the olive oil and butter for a few minutes. Add the bay leaf and garlic and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the bacon and continue to cook for about five minutes until the vegetables are slightly softened.

Cut the tomatoes into eight pieces and add them to the vegetables, cover the pan and cook gently for about 15 minutes. The mixture must be stirred occasionally, which will help the tomatoes break down and start to create the soup.

When the tomatoes have softened, start to add the stock, a ladle at a time, until you have a looser consistency. Cook for a further 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, add the chopped herbs and check for seasoning; you may find a little tomato puree will help the strength of taste.
For the Hovis surprise:

Slice the Hovis loaf into six medium slices and remove the crust. Using a rolling pin, roll the bread on cling film as thin as you can without breaking the bread.

Cut out the bread 10mm bigger than the circumference of your serving soup cup/bowl creating a bread disc. Bake the Hovis bread discs in an oven preheated to 200C for 10 minutes, until golden brown.
To serve:

Ladle the soup into a soup cup and place two slices of goat's cheese on top.

Butter one side of the bread disc and cover the soup cup/bowl by placing the bread disc on top, butter side up. Add another two pieces of Golden Cross cheese to it.

Place the soup cup in the oven and bake further until the bread disc goes golden and the cheese has melted.

Add a teaspoon of pesto to the top of the cheese and serve.


(Serves 4)

80g finely diced Montgomery cheddar
80g finely diced York ham
1tsp thyme
1 chicken breast
450ml double cream
1 egg white
Salt and pepper to taste
1 unsliced Little Brown Hovis loaf
100g unsalted butter
16 cherry tomatoes
1 spring onion
80ml vinaigrette/classic French dressing
You will also need four dariole moulds - or any round cup-like mould that is oven-safe.
For the filling:

Remove any sinews from the chicken and, using a food processor, blend it into a puree. Place the pureed chicken in a cold stainless steel bowl and chill for 10 minutes in the fridge.

Beat in the egg white by hand to the chilled chicken until it is incorporated and fold in the cream.

Add the salt and pepper, chopped cheese, thyme, and ham and mix well.
For the clanger casing:

Generously butter the dariole moulds and store in the fridge until needed.

Cut the Hovis loaf into eight medium slices.
Using a rolling pin, flatten each of the bread slices on a piece of cling film as fine as you can make it with out damaging it.

To make the base and top of the clanger - cut out two discs from the flattened bread to the size of the circumference of the mould.

To make the sides of the clanger - cut out a rectangular strip slightly larger than the inside height of the mould.

Place the first disc on the base and then place the rectangular piece of bread on the inside walls of the mould, using your fingers make sure the bread is pressed against the sides.

Fill the mould to the top with the chicken and cheese mix and then fold over the edges of the bread to contain the filling, and place the last disc on top to seal the clanger.

Butter the top disc and bake in a bain marie (water bath) in the oven at 220C for 10 minutes until golden and hot in the middle.

Let stand for five minutes.

For the garnish:

Cut the tomatoes in fine slices and shred the spring onions.

Mix them together with vinaigrette and salt and pepper, and serve with the clanger on the side or underneath [as shown in the photo].