MPs at the House of Commons will be tucking into the finest Cornish fare next month, after a family-run dairy took one of the top honours at the World Cheese Awards.
Whalesborough Farm Foods at Marhamchurch, near Bude, won Super Gold, Silver and Bronze for three of its cheeses, with judges being particularly impressed with the micro-producer's cider- infused Keltic Gold.
The firm, which only began producing artisan cheeses such as Miss Muffet, Trelawny and Cornish Crumbly 12 years ago, has also been approached by buyers at Harrods.
Sue Proudfoot, who runs the family firm with her son Andrew, said: "On the strength of this award, Keltic Gold will be in the House of Commons next month and I am hopeful about the talks with Harrods. But my priority is always to look after our existing customers who have been very loyal to us since we started."
Sue said she believed the firm's success was down to its quality ingredients, attention to detail and originality.
"The World Cheese Awards create a wonderful platform for a small cheese-making business like us," she said. "We have never tried to compete with other cheese producers – and that's particularly true of Keltic Gold.
"Keltic Gold is a thoroughly washed curd cheese, which gives a smooth and supple texture. During ripening, it is dipped in cider and scrubbed three times each week. The cider then infuses into it to give a deep, sweet flavour, a pungent apple aroma and a sticky orange rind. We've found that for some reason it is particularly popular with Asian and European tastes."
The World Cheese Awards was hosted by the BBC Good Food Show at the NEC in Birmingham. The event has been running for 20 years and is the largest event of its kind in the world, with more than 2,700 cheeses being examined, prodded and tasted by judges.
The batch of Keltic Gold entered into the competition was made by Sue's son, Andrew.
"Globally respected accolades like these mean that we are stepping on to the world stage in front of a critical and informed audience who understand just how important quality and provenance are," said Sue.
"We do remain staunchly loyal to our customers, who are the ultimate judges of the success of any cheese, but events like the World Cheese Awards excite and inform us – and are proof that we are definitely on the right track in every way.
"My son was working part-time at a bakery at Week St Mary, but he made the winning batch and it has given him the confidence to come into the business full-time. He is following a family tradition begun in the 1950s by my Auntie Ann, who was one of the pioneers of artisan cheese-making."
Whalesborough, which already supplies upmarket store Fortnum & Mason and Arsenal football club, uses milk from Trewithen Dairy for all its cheeses, while Keltic Gold is soaked in Cornish Orchards cider.
Bill Clarke, of Trewithen, said: "We couldn't be more delighted to see Sue and her team receiving such major global and critical acclaim and we are proud that our milk is involved."
The success of Whalesborough follows that of The Cornish Cheese Company, which earned the World Cheese Awards Champion title in 2010 for its Cornish Blue. For more details, visit www.whalesboroughcheese. co.uk