IFE05 is the perfect platform for the 18th World Cheese Awards. Richard Clarke samples some of the delights

A visit to this year’s IFE is a must for anyone with an interest in cheese, professional or otherwise.
The show is playing host to the 18th World Cheese Awards. The 1,800 cheeses entered into the competition will be judged on March 10 and each one will go on show at IFE, where visitors will be able to view and taste them.
The awards are run by the UK Cheese Guild, whose chairman is Bob Farrand. He says: “This truly global competition needs to be staged at a major international event. IFE is the perfect platform.”
IFE05 will boast its usual strong showing of dairy exhibitors large and small, including Dairy Crest Ingredients, the Milk Development Council and North Downs Dairy.
Also there will be Wensleydale Dairy Products with both traditional and exotic cheeses. On show will be mature and blue Wensleydale and that old favourite with cranberries. More left of field are Wensleydales with papaya and mango and with ginger and lemon. Not be outdone in the originality stakes, Yorkshire’s Shepherds Purse launches Basilano, a white ewe’s milk cheese marinated in herbs, and Bell-Peppered Buffalo, a buffalo milk cheese with red bell peppers and marinated in balsamic vinegar.
The Northumberland Cheese Company will be celebrating its 21st birthday and visitors will be able to sample from its range, including its World Cheese Award-winning Chevington cheese.
The Fine Cheese Group stocks 53 cheeses that won prizes in last year’s World Cheese Awards, but at IFE will be focusing on a new range of crackers designed as the perfect accompaniment to them.
With on-the-go eating in mind, Galbani will unveil its new cheese snack product, a 105g tub of Italian bite-size cheese pieces. Small is beautiful, too, for Ilchester, which is launching a range of mini whole cheeses targeted at independents.
Joseph Heler Cheese will unveil a natural range that retains its shape, texture and taste when cooked. Also worth seeking out is Belton Cheese, a winner at last year’s Nantwich Cheese Show.