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There is not a place called Lymeswold: the name was dreamed up by the marketing men to designate a newly invented ‘French-style’ English cheese, launched in Britain by Dairy Crest, a subsidiary of the Milk Marketing Board, in 1982. Probably suggested by Wymeswold, the name of a village in Leicestershire, it conjures up the English pastoral landscape in wold, with its echoes of the touristically successful Cotswolds (Cotswold itself had already been taken as a cheese-name, by the inventors of a rather unsubtle mixture of Double Gloucester with chives), and overall it makes an appeal to bucolic traditionalism. It is certainly more atmospheric than Aston (the site of the creamery in Cheshire where the cheese was actually made). Unfortunately this all cut little ice in the vital export market. It was discovered that the French, for instance, were quite unable to pronounce Lymeswold. So abroad, it became Westminster Blue.

The cheese itself was soft, creamy and mild, with restrained blue veining. The concept behind it seems to have been to produce something that looked French (cashing in on the sophisticated but popular image of Brie, Camembert, and the like) but was free from the hairier aspects of French cheeses (smelliness, runniness, etc.) that were perceived as being a mass-market turn-off. The whole exercise was reminiscent of the introduction of the so-called ‘pale cream’ sherries (see sherry), which look sophisticatedly dry but taste sweet. But it did not work. Critics found the cheese bland, and the public never really took to it. It was quietly withdrawn in the early 1990s.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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