OS grid reference:- SD 868 897
At the Wensleydale Creamery, at the Dales market town of Hawes visitors can watch the cheese being made in the traditional way.
The centre, which is set in a stunning location with amazing views, was established by former workers of the original Hawes Dairy in 1992. It adheres to traditional recipes following those first done by French monks in the twelfth century. The Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre is an unique place to visit, full of history and heritage.
The Creamery, where the Traditional and Blended selections of Yorkshire Wensleydale cheeses are handcrafted to time-honoured recipes has been hand producing cheese for more than 100 years. Cheese-making demonstrations are held on selected days throughout the school holidays.
The main types of cheese produced by the Wensleydale Creamery are - Real Yorkshire Wensleydale, which is usually shaped in a variety of weight moulds ranging in size from a small flat disc known as a "truckle" that is highly pressed and preserved in wax, to several larger cheeses—it is a mild cheese with an acidic, honeyed flavour.
Mature Wensleydale is a harder, more highly flavoured version of the Real Yorkshire Wensleydale Extra Mature Wensleydale the strongest Wensleydale cheese, matured for nine months Blue Wensleydale has blue veins and is produced in range of sizes. It is highly flavoured but less salty than the classic British blue Stilton Oak Smoked Wensleydale is cold smoked to produce a cheese with a special tang and texture. Cold smoking typically involves lower temperatures in the smoking process.
In the newly refurbished museum visitors can discover how Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese has been made throughout the centuries. On display are real items of old cheese-making equipment, plus recreations of an old farmhouse kitchen and dairy.
Wensleydale cheese was first made by French Cistercian monks from the Roquefort region, who had settled in Wensleydale. They built a monastery at Fors, but some years later the monks moved to Jervaulx in Lower Wensleydale. They brought with them a recipe for making cheese from sheep's milk. During the fourteenth century cows' milk began to be used instead, and the character of the cheese began to change. A little ewes' milk was still mixed in since it gave a more open texture, and allowed the development of the blue mould. At that time, Wensleydale was almost always blue with the white variety almost unknown.
There is also a Wensleydale Cheese Shop and Deli or Gift Shop, restaurant and 1897 Coffee Shop.