This is the story of how the Prince of Wales saved artisan cheesemakers from potential ruin
Love them, hate them, or support them, those who live in monarchical countries have a unique air about them. Flipping through foreign media after the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, it’s clear that non-monarchical nations feel slightly inferior, even if they disagree. The absence of governmental considerations allows the hereditary head of a kingdom exclusive privileges, and the story of how the Prince of Wales saved Britain’s artisan cheesemakers from impending ruin is an example of this.
In the 1990s, a series of food crises rocked the country and prompted lawmakers to introduce exaggerated health measures aimed at food safety. One proposal was that only pasteurized milk be used for cheese making, which would have been a death sentence for artisan producers. Farmers selling unpasteurized milk have different views on how food should be delivered to the consumer, but cheese makers, in this case those who only use ‘natural’ milk, should have closed their businesses . Battle lines have been drawn, but fortunately the Prince of Wales is patron of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association, albeit in an honorary capacity. Nevertheless, he convinced politicians that it was important to encourage traditional cheese making, then invited all parties to meet at his Highgrove estate.
The result was a revision of the proposed legislation, and today Britain has over 700 different farmhouse cheeses, probably more than the French. Artisanal cheese, many of which are made with unpasteurised milk, is a multimillion-pound-a-year industry, supporting hundreds of small farms and thousands of jobs, all of which would have disappeared without HRH’s initiative.