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Awards founder is a descendant of one of Bath's famous forefathers

23rd December 2013

Categories: News


Awards founder is a descendant of one of Bath’s famous forefathers – Plasticine inventor William Harbutt Just as the Royal Bath and West Society was founded in the Georgian city from which it takes its name, the founder of the British Cheese Awards which are coming to the 2014 Show has historic city connections.

And now Juliet Harbutt hopes being in the West Country will help her find descendants of William Harbutt, who was headmaster of Bath School of Art in Victorian times and invented Plasticine Although a link between cheese and Plasticine isn’t immediately obvious, there is a definite link to art and, of course, to Wallace and Gromit whose animated characters are not only cheese lovers but modelled in Plasticine.

The plans for the British Cheese Awards include making a visually exciting and multi-sensory experience for judges, cheesemakers and visitors to the 2014 Royal Bath and West Show.

Show manager Alan Lyons said: “The Awards will be giving people the opportunity to taste and smell and experience the extraordinary diversity and complexity of British Cheese.

“It’s a fantastic coup for the show which has been a promoter of cheese throughout its history; this continues the tradition of being at the forefront of excellence.”

Juliet says: “The awards have always been about quality and the cheese makers respect the judges and the judging system which is why we get significantly more cheesemakers entering than any other show.

Nearing retirement Juliet wanted the awards to continue but needed to find the right partner “ I could not have wished for anyone better than the Royal Bath and West. It’s a win-win situation,” she says.

 “I think it will be absolutely fantastic and brings together the traditional makers with those making the modern British cheese that are innovative, diverse and will inspire a new generation of cheese lovers.”

She developed her passion for cheese after leaving New Zealand where she had run a deli-café to come to England to look for ways of improving her food offering.

“I went to a place in Paris; it was a wine shop where you sat at a little table and had five wines and three cheeses. I tasted that cheese and thought ‘if this is cheese I have got to go and do cheese’.

“I went to London intending to find ideas for developing a cheese shop back in New Zealand but I couldn’t find a cheese shop doing cheese as I thought it should be done. I was young and antipodean and thought why don’t I open my own shop? I did and I still love cheese and rarely have a cheese-free day!

And being in the West Country may also give her the spur she needs to try and trace other descendants of her famous ancestor – “I have been meaning to so doing this in Somerset may mean I can.”

The Royal Bath and West Show takes place from May 28 to May 31 – early bird tickets are on sale now at<> priced £17 for adults, £5 for a child or £48 for a family.

Gate prices are £22 adult, £7 child and £55 for a family

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