A cheese similar in process to Lancashire. Near-white, crumbly and mild. Made at Hawes in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire.
Cheese was made in Wensleydale from 1150 by Cistercian monks who had settled there from the cheese-famous Roquefort region of France.
After twenty years of falling sales, the Dairy Crest company finally closed the Hawes creamery in 1992. Managers succeeded in re-opening the business with the help of local farmers, but did not prosper. That could well have been the end of Wensleydale, but for the spectacular success of the 1995 film 'A Close Shave' with its Wensleydale-loving hero. Apparently, Nick Park of Ardman films knew nothing of the difficulties in the cheese business, and simply chose the word 'Wensleydale' because it made his animated characters look 'nice and toothy', yet without Wallace and Gromit, Wensleydale might no longer exist.
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