British Cheese: the First 6,000 Years, with Cheesemonger Ned Palmer

Program Description


A lunchtime conversation via ZOOM, moderated by Diana Pittet, and followed by open discussion.

In its simplest form, terroir refers to the influence of place—the local climate, topography, soil, and flora—on the character of a cheese. But if cheese is a product of place, it is also a product of people—a particular local culture—and of time–the specific moment when that style of cheese was created. It follows, then, that cheese can speak to us not just about where it was made but by whom, and when. In this talk, Ned Palmer explored this broader notion of terroir by telling the story of the British Isles through the medium of cheese, highlighting the early Celtic technologies that are still recognizable today, the shift from sheep’s to cows’ milk cheeses as relating to the Dissolution of the Monasteries and increasing Enclosures Acts, and the reemergence of territorials as the pride of British cheesemaking.

Ned Palmer is a London-based cheese educator and the author of A Cheesemonger’s History of the British Isles. He began his 20-year cheesemongering career at Borough Market and Neal’s Yard Dairy in London, and he now hosts cheese tastings through his company, The Cheese Tasting Co.