Monday, 19 April 2010

Crackin' Cheese Grommit........

What's she on about?.... I can hear you saying.     Well I'll tell you.

Last Tuesday MWM and I went on a coach trip to Wallace and Grommit country, North Yorkshire.

We joined the 52 seater coach at 9.15 a.m. and stopped after an hour for a tea break before continuing our journey to Hawes, which is regarded as the capital of Upper Wensleydale and is said to be one of the highest market towns in England.     Known affectionately by locals as T’Haas, this vibrant market town derives its name from the old Norse word ‘hals’, meaning a mountain pass or neck.

It was lunchtime when we arrived in Hawes and the coach driver dropped us right in the centre of the pretty little town saying he would pick us up there two hours later to take us to the Wensleydale Creamery.   Conveniently he dropped us right outside The Crown pub which offered a varied menu, so that's where we had lunch, washed down with a pint of Theakston's Old Peculiar.

After lunch we decided to explore the main street and the market stalls which abounded, as it just happened to be market day.

There were lots of market stalls and interesting shops in Hawes, in particular we found a little Rock and Gem shop where I purchased this beautiful soapstone elephant to add to my collection.

When we'd set off from home the weather had been warm and sunny and I had dressed appropriately in a t-shirt and a light mac, unfortunately the sun deserted us and a biting wind had sprung up and I was freezing, so of course we had to take shelter in another of the many pubs in Hawes - The Old Board Inn.   What do you mean any excuse???

See me in the bottom left hand corner?    I look cold don't I?     MWM went to the bar and got us another pint of Old Peculiar which we enjoyed in the warm atmosphere of the country pub, before it was time to get back on the coach for the five minute journey to the Wensleydale Creamery.

On arrival at the creamery our driver took us into the Creamery's museum for a demonstration of cheesemaking by hand.  

One of the cheesemakers (blessed are the cheesemakers) brought in a bucket containing a gallon of warm milk to which he added starter and rennet.   He told us that in the old days the rennet was obtained from calf's stomachs and was also made by boiling slugs and snails then using the liquid  (YUK) but now they used a fungi.   He left us to watch a ten minute video about the mechanised cheese making process and when the video finished he showed us how the milk had reacted by becoming jelly-like.  He then proceeded to chop it and drained off the whey leaving the curds, which he squeezed and pressed until it was dry enough to press into a 500g container.    He extracted the cheese from the container and wrapped it in muslin and put a Wallace and Grommit label on it.

After the demonstration we were able to walk though the small museum, where there was lots of old cheesemaking equipment.

Then we got to the best bit of the visit - the cheese-tasting!      We went into the Creamery shop where all their cheeses were ready for us to sample and buy, yummy.   

We bought some Wensleydale Blue, Wensleydale with Cranberry and some Sheep's Milk Cheese which is just wondefully creamy.   We also bought some onion relish, homemade biscuits and some chocolate covered YORKSHIRE SHEEP POO, which is in fact chocolate covered raisins which the grandchildren will find it very amusing.


We just had time for a drink in the Creamery restaurant/bar before it was time to get back on the coach for the journey home through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

I hope you enjoyed our trip to Wallace and Grommit country.


Anonymous said...

What a cool place to visit. I just love the elephant my friend. It's beautiful :) I just gotta ask, was it a funny smell? For some reason I think that a cheese factory would be. Slugs and Snails? And now fungi? I'm not so sure I wanna have any cheese anymore LOL :) You know when I was in Seattle there was a cheese making place in Pike's Market. It was so cool to see. I love the museum stuff. All those old relics are something else. Thanks for the wonderful tour. Cheers my friend :)

jinksy said...

Who wouldn't enjoy a bit of sheep poo?! :)

Shrinky said...

What a blissful way to spend a day out, I feel quite envious! This is something I miss, an explore out for the day to places new - much as I love the island, we've kind of done the tourist bit to death! Still, I do have the deserted sandy beaches, so I'm not really complaining. I would sure love a new market like this one to have a leisurely browse through!

richies said...

Look like you had a great visit to Hawes. Thanks for the tour.

An Arkies Musings

Bernadine said...

Thanks for the tour. Loved it:)

Love the pictures. I think that is a nice place to visit. :)

Valerie said...

The sheep poo had me worried for a minute! Sounds like a great day out, I wonder if my crowd would consider a day up North worthwhile.

Ron said...


HAHAHAHHHAHAA....OMG, that is sooo funny!

I guess it's sorta like those chocolate covered raisins which remind me of rabbit turds....HA!

What a fascinating and fun trip you had. I LOVE the look of that little town. Europe is has such charm!

Thanks for sharing, m'dear!

Enjoyed it thoroughly!


Ji said...

I like the photos,
cool post!

Ji said...

awards 4 u.

Akelamalu said...

No Thom there wasn't a funny smell. It was a really interesting demonstration and the cheese tasting was great - as long as we didn't think about the rennet! LOL

Well that's what we thought Jinksy ;)

I would imagine living on a small island you would have seen all the sights Shrinky. You'll have to visit the mainland and do the touristy bits here. :)

We did enjoy the trip Richies :)

Glad you enjoyed the tour Bernadine :)

There's some great places to visit here Oop North Valerie :)

That's exactly what Yorkshire Sheep Poo is Ron - I love 'em. :)

I'm pleased you enjoyed the photos Ji :)

Daryl said...

What a lovely/charming shire ... I love Wallace and Grommet ... and I do believe that sheep poo is sold in Wales as Dragon Poo!!!!!

buffalodick said...

My kind of day trip! The most I ever paid for cheese here was for a genuine English farmhouse cheddar- and it was worth it!

Fletch said...

I was taken by the alternative name for the Sheep Poo - "Mutton Buttons".

Only a genuine Yorkshire Tyke could have come up with that one ...

Quilly said...

Your little countryside trips always interest and intrigue me. I would love to have the leisure of time to travel and visit small towns across the world -- and of course you have enticed me to want to start in the UK.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i enjoyed it very much my dear!

smiles, bee

Akelamalu said...

Haha Dragon Poo from Wales is quite believable Daryl.

Oh you should really try Crumbly Lancashire Cheese from 'The World Famous Bury Market' Buff - you'd love it!

You're so right Fletch!

You would love all the little towns here in the UK Quilly and if you get to visit here I'd be proud to show you some close to where I live. :)

I'm pleased you enjoyed it Bee x

Cloudia said...

You DO get around! (Nice for us)

I'm carrying a tiny elephant this year for feng shui reasons....


Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

CG said...

Oh sounds a great trip! I must go there when we're in Yorkshire in October :)

Travis said...

Now in the States when we hear the word Creamery, we think ice cream. So I was wondering how you were going to do at an ice cream factory since it was so cold!

Akelamalu said...

We do try to get around Cloudia there's so much to see and we have all the time in the world now. :)

Oh yes do go CG, I'll be interested to know what you think. :)

Strange how the same word can mean something totally different isn't it Trav?

G-Man said...

Wonderful trip and pics Ake!

Loved the elephant! I've heard that they only bring 'Good Luck' if their trunk is raised upright like your is....

secret agent woman said...

I love touring places where they make things, especially edible things. And what a cool little town.

Indigo said...

Wallace and Grommit are a favourite programme of mine, hilarious and very clever how they make the charactors out of plastercine.. I used to ove the smell of plastercine as a child. Haven't seen plastercine for years!



Akelamalu said...

Yes you're right about the elephant's trunk G-man - all mine have trunks up! Glad you enjoyed the photos. :)

Hawes is an adorable little town SAW and I like touring places where they make edible things too. ;)

I still get to play with plasticine with my grandchildren Indigo, it's great fun. :)

Spiky Zora Jones said...

akelamalu: You have the most wonderful adventures. This is a place i could go to and really enjoy myself. It's so not American and that makes it even more interesting.

that beer sure sounds good about now too...yes, it's morning here but who cares. :0)


Akelamalu said...

Spiky if you ever get to the UK, especially 'oop north' where I live I will buy you a pint of Old Peculiar I promise! :)

Maggie May said...

Oooh...... I do like a good piece of cheese..... especially Wensleydale.
Would have loved that trip.
Especially proud of Wallace & Grommit, being Bristol people........ he was created here!

Nuts in May

Akelamalu said...

I hope you get to visit the creamery Maggie. I know W&G was created in Bristol but I think Wensleydale has adopted them because of their references to Wensleydale cheese :)

Carol said...

I drove through Hawes when we visited Forbidden corner. I really wanted to stop but there seemed nowhere to park!! A nice cheese I had recently in Brecon was called Harlech. A soft cheddar mixed with horse radish. It was yummy!! I would have loved the sheep poo and so would the grandchildren.

Akelamalu said...

What a shame you couldn't find anywhere to park in Hawes Carol you would have loved it. The cheddar with horse radish sounds just heavenly - I love a cheese with a bite! I've yet to surprise the grandkids with the sheep poo. ;)

Deb said...

You guys take the best trips ! And I do appreciate the fact that you take us along and share the sights. My husband and I want to travel by train at some point in life. Happy travels !

Ash :) said...

I am so jealous! That trip looked like it was very fun and VERY entertaining :)

MarmiteToasty said...

oh what a great day out, I love the photos of the museum as I love kitchenalia :)


Julia Smith said...

That was dreamy! I know - you'd think I'd be more excited to go to the tropics, but honestly, the Yorkshire Dales are WAY up there on my wish list.

Akelamalu said...

There are some great places to visit nearby and we love travelling Deb :)

Hi Ash and welcome. It was fun.

You'd love it there Marmie, though I think you may need a couple of days as it's a bit far from you to do in a day.

You have to come to England Julia and experience the Dales. :)

CrystalChick said...

Haven't been 'round for much blog reading for awhile but I came looking for the pictures, and here they are! Terrific trips you and hubby take!
YES, I have had Wensleydale cranberry cheese! Mmmmm!!! We get alot of specialty cheeses at a grocery store not far from me so I have tried a few very good ones.

Happy travels!

Anonymous said...