The world’s most expensive cheese board goes on show today, with a centrepiece from the equine world’s least glamorous animal.
There is certainly a whiff of money about the eight types on the board – which costs an eye-watering £841.10 and includes donkey cheese and a gold-studded cheddar.
The culinary delight was unveiled yesterday at the Global Cheese Awards, which precede today’s Frome Agricultural and Cheese Show. It boasted 76 classes and more than 1,160 entries with plenty of international competitors.
And as if the £50 cost per mouthful was not enough, the board and accompaniments with which the rich-list cheese is served takes the total bill to more than £2,000.
But despite all the hubbub about the expense, it is reassuring in these straitened times to hear that the overall prize went to a humble but tasty Cheddar from Somerset.
The board contains a sliver of Pule cheese, made to order from Serbian donkey milk at £800 per kilo, and a gold-encrusted white truffle vintage local Wyke Farms’ cheddar, at £242 per kilo.
Pule is the most expensive cheese in the world because it takes 25 litres of milk, from donkeys grazing on the Zasavica nature reserve, near Belgrade, to make just one kilo of the smoked cheese.
The recession-busting platter is served on a solid-silver tray, worth almost £600, and a handcrafted wooden board costing £120.
A £445 solid-silver knife and scoop will help transfer £32 ash-encrusted goats’ cheese onto £10 artisan Swedish crispbread.
Abbaye de Belloc, an unpasteurised sheep’s cheese traditionally made by Benedictine monks in the Pays Basque region of France, is included.
Nigel Pooley, chairman of the Global Cheese Awards, is not expecting a rush of takers but hopes it will showcase the art of cheesemaking.
He said: “We had initially thought of camel, horse and moose cheese, so we could aim for the world’s most expensive cheese from around the globe in a whole new sense. Maybe that’s one for next year.”
And despite the hubbub and the international competition, the Global Champion Cheese award was won by Keen’s of Wincanton with a traditional mature cheddar. Reserve was Dairy Crest’s Davidstow creamery with a mature cheddar.
Former Coronation Street star Sean Wilson, who played Martin Platt, was among the judges. He said: “Fab show! A great show of cheeses: great Cheddar, great territorials and great mix of judges. I love the calm atmosphere of this show and best of all we brought the sunshine.”
Today the public can meet Nigel Barden from Radio 2 at the Cheese Pavilion Cricketer Cheese Bar, and celebrity chef Lesley Waters.
Some of the region’s best farm livestock are on view, together with some unexpected exotics. Shepton Mallet based Repxotics will bring a mini-zoo of reptiles, amphibians, insects and others to join more conventional pets in the Animal Nursery.
Main ring attractions include the daredevil Bulldog Lings freestyle motocross