LAKE District based artisan farmhouse cheesemaker and owner of Manchester cheesemonger’s New Market Dairy, Martin Gott, joined a star-studded line up of cheesemakers, chefs including the likes of fellow Lakes resident Simon Rogan, food writers such as Jenny Linford and an array of cheese aficionados including the likes of Ned Palmer at the UK’s second virtual British Cheese Weekender earlier this month.

Launched last year in response to the crisis facing the country’s specialist cheesemakers when the Covid struck, the British Cheese Weekender returned this year with three days of free online cheese events aimed at celebrating and supporting this fragile sector.

Kicking off with cheesemaker Mary Quicke, participants were transported across the country, as they virtually dropped in at farms, dairies, maturing rooms, cheesemongers’ counters and top chefs’ kitchens to learn more about British cheeses before wrapping up with a chat about the future of British cheese.

A jam-packed programme of events included wine and cheese masterclasses, cooking demos and talks on the history of cheese, virtual farm tours and virtual cheese tastings and even the promise of cheese and jazz from leading comedian Marcus Brigstocke.

Michelin starred chef Simon Rogan commented: ''Over the years I've wholeheartedly supported British producers and have long championed our cheese makers, in particular makers like Martin Gott and Nicola Robinson the creators of St James, based on our doorstep just outside Cartmel, traditional style cheddar like Westcombe, from Somerset and innovative cheeses including my personal favourite, rich and oozy Tunworth, from Hampshire. Which is why I am happy to lend my support to the Great British Cheese Weekender and help shout about our distinctive British farmhouse cheeses.''

Martin Gott commented: ''The British Cheese Weekender is designed to help raise awareness with as many customers as possible of the sheer quality and diversity of artisan made farmhouse cheeses from around the British Isles.''

This is especially crucial at the moment, as many of the makers have had a particularly challenging time surviving in the face of Covid, when many lost much of their hospitality trade during successive lockdowns.

''As a sector we are hugely proud of how far we’ve come but in order to be able to continue to grow and bring new cheeses to market in the coming months and years we will all need the support of the British public, support for which we are all very grateful and hope to see continue long into the future.''

Martin has spent most of his life in the food industry. From an early age he would go to markets with his father and passionately sell the products. It was the the cheese that really grabbed is attention and he set off on a mission to create amazing cheese. Confident that he had the tools to succeed, along with partner Nicola, he set up at Holker Farm in the Lake District.