We get some pretty odd requests to make bespoke cheeses from time to time, but none as crazy as the day Jamie Oliver called up to see if I'd be interested in adding a kilo of white Alba truffles to one of our Westcombe Cheddars!

Now, I'm not really a fan of 'flavoured' cheeses. I tend to think unwelcome additions can really upset the delicate balance of a fine cheese. During their year-long maturation, our Cheddars go through a complex fluctuation of bacteria, acidity and PH activity that, if we've used our know-how, the best raw ingredients, and kept them in the right conditions, results in amazing cheese. But start chucking in additional elements and things can quickly go a bit pear shaped.

But what could I say to Jamie? Truffles in a cheddar? What an opportunity to experiment with this most delectable ingredient, and who knows, it might just work! Well, I'm glad to say it was a great success and produced a completely unique cheddar with a sublime umami character and incredible depth of flavour.

And what became of these epic White Truffle Cheddars? Well, we only made two so obviously there wasn't enough to sell here at the shop (and of course the price would be astronomical!).

So Jamie held a special 'Truffle Cheddar' event at Fifteen in London. Head chef Jon Rotheram devised a seven-course menu around the cheeses, and the evening became a special charity fundraising event for a few lucky punters. Read about Fifteen's Celebrations of Westcombe Dairy's White Truffle Cheddar evening here. Tom.

Jon Rotheram's special Westcombe Truffle Cheddar Fifteen menu

Jon Rotheram's special Westcombe Truffle Cheddar Fifteen menu

Jamie introduces Tom at the Fifteen event

Jamie introduces Tom at the Fifteen event

Wye Valley asparagus with Westcombe Tuffle Cheddar

Wye Valley asparagus with Westcombe Tuffle Cheddar


2012 was a particularly good year for Westcombe Dairy. Not only did we win the prestigious Best Food Producer category at the BBC Food & Farming Awards, but we found a new tenant for our vacant warehouse next to the dairy in the form of The Wild Beer Co.

Set up by two ex-Bristol Beer Factory brewers Andrew Cooper and Brett Ellis, the Wild Beer Co are making some of most exciting, innovative and downright delicious beer in Britain (possibly the world) right now.

What sets the Wild Beer Co apart is their approach: Andrew and Brett don't think like traditional brewers, they approach their beers like chefs create dishes. It's all about flavour and the amazing combinations that play with the drinker's perception and expectations to create truly remarkable beers. It's an approach that has seen them create some truly exceptional brews, from the refreshing Sourdough to the opulent Wildebeest.

And it's their approach that makes them such a great ally for Westcombe and such a joy to have around. Having like-minded, flavour-obsessed people working away in the same vicinity as us is the ultimate joy for any artisan food producer, and it didn't take long for Westcombe and the Wild Beer Co to join forces, not only with cheese and beer matching events, but with our excellent Cheese and Beer Festivals.

So in the spring of 2013 we held the first ever Westcombe Cheese & Wild Beer Festival here at the diary, as a celebration of all the good things going and a chance to say thanks to our loyal customers (and patient locals who put up with our delivery trucks!).

We transformed the dairy into a temple of cheese and beer delights, with stalls serving proper West Country ploughmans and our classic Westcombe cheese brick toasties. We also had Angus Hillary bring his Field 2 Fire pizza oven over to make a selection of wood-fired bruschettas, while the Wild Beer boys constructed their immense ten-tap Wild Beer bar (one for each of their beers).

There was eating, drinking, music, dancing, train rides, more drinking, more eating and the sun came out, but best of all, loads of people came out too, not just locals but from as far a field as Bristol (and even Sweden!).

In fact, our little festival was so good, we decided to have an even bigger and better one in 2014, for which we built our epic Westcombe burger shack, had ice cream made from our lovely Somerset Ricotta and built an even bigger marquee for carousing. The Wild Beer Co pulled out all the stops on their now even bigger and wilder range of beers, and a thoroughly good time was had by all. See you at the next one! Tom.


Me and Dad manning the Westcombe stall at The Royal Bath & West Show 2013 

Me and Dad manning the Westcombe stall at The Royal Bath & West Show 2013 

The Royal Bath and West Show is one of the biggest events on the Somerset agricultural calendar. Dating back 150 years, it's a proper historic event and one of the few remaining old-school farm shows left in the UK. At Westcombe Dairy we're very proud of our decade-long association with it.

Westcombe has picked up numerous awards and medals over our years of exhibiting at the Royal Bath & West, which is always an honour, but to be honest it's not really why we make the effort. The Bath & West is just a very special event, and if you've never been, make the next one a priority.

There's nothing quite like the Royal Bath & West Show. Aside for a trip to Wilkin's Cider Farm, there just aren't that many genuine Somerset experiences left. But the Bath & West has it all: from prize livestock displays and show-jumping, to sheep shearing trials, farming machinery demos and, of course, enough traditional Somerset food and drink to sink a ship!

Another trophy for our cheese!

Another trophy for our cheese!

The atmosphere at the Royal Bath & West is always great, with huge crowds coming out to join the fun and be part of one of the country’s biggest and best farming shows. It's a great opportunity to catch up with other producers, both old and new, and get stuck in meeting people.

Every year we pile our stall high with Westcombe Cheddar and Duckett's Aged Caerphilly, giving away loads of taster and pitting our lovely cheeses against the best the county has to offer.

So thanks to everyone who comes to say hello and buys some of our cheese – we're always blown away by people's response and it's always great to hear feedback from people on how they enjoy our cheeses.

Thanks also to the organisers and judges of the show, who have generously awarded our cheeses a raft of medals and trophies over the years. See you all again in 2015! Tom.


Back in 2007 we got together with West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers, Deep Blue Sky ad agency and the brilliant PR agency Bray Leino to create Cheddarvision, a live, 24/7 webcam showing a Cheddar maturing in our ageing room from the day it was made until its maturation.

What started as a bit of fun and a chance to highlight the importance of time and terroir in the production of traditional Cheddar cheese quickly escalated into a proper 21st century internet phenomenon, with nearly 2 million people logging on to have a look our cheese – who was eventually named Wedginald!

The story was picked up everywhere, by all the big media outlets (British broadsheet newspapers, BBC radio and TV) as well as across Europe and in America. Just look at some of these links, from The GuardianBBC NewsNorway's Dag Bladet, and even the New York Times. To this day, 'Wedginald' has his own Wikipedia page and he/it became quite the celebrity, with appearances on BBC Children In Need and Glastonbury Festival, a Valentine's card from the US and a signed rugby ball from the England Rugby Team. It all went a bit mental.

Wedginald and his high-tech webcam 'rig'

Wedginald and his high-tech webcam 'rig'

And what became of Wedginald? Well, obviously he couldn't just mix back in with our other Cheddars, not with his new-found celebrity status. They'd turn on him for sure. So he was auctioned off by BBC Children In Need and was claimed by the highest bidder …in New Zealand! And that's where Wedginald ended up, flying first class courtesy of Air New Zealand to his new home on the other side of the world. I still don't really believe it myself, but it all happened! Tom.