On its whey to a canal near you
For the past five and a half years Britain’s canals and rivers have been receiving their recommended daily allowance of calcium courtesy of the Cheese Boat, which cruises up and down the waterways selling specialist Welsh Cheeses.
We do surprise a lot of people who don't expect to find us on the canal”
The Cheese Boat was the brain child of Geraldine Prescott who, with her husband Michael, wanted a way to turn a passion for narrow boating into something profitable. After tasting the range of cheeses from the Snowdonia Cheese Company based in Rhyl, Geraldine decided that dairy was the way forward.
The award-winning Snowdonia Cheese Company was started over seven years ago with the belief that dairy farming is a strong custodian of our environment and countryside. Geraldine approached the company about her idea to sell their cheese from her boat at the side of the canal and Snowdonia thought it was brilliant. The Cheese Boat was born. Success came quickly to the boat of cheese and Caws Cenarth products were added to The Cheese Boat’s repertoire.
Try before you buy
Geraldine and Michael covered the canal system introducing Welsh cheese to anyone wishing to ‘Try Before You Buy’. The company’s motto invited everyone to try the cheese for free and, if they liked it, to buy the colourful wax truckles. People certainly liked the cheese, buying hundreds and hundreds of truckles in the Cheese Boat’s first year of operation.
“We do surprise a lot of people who don’t expect to find us on the canal,” says Geraldine. “We also have a lot of very loyal customers who will travel to find us. Just this morning I had a call from a man who lived in West Brom who wanted to come and find us to stock up.”
Living and working with so much cheese would but a lot of people off of the product although Geraldine and Michael still indulge on a regular basis. The boats’ most popular cheese is the ‘Black Bomber’, although Geraldine favours the Red Devil and enjoys it with a baked potato and salad, while Michael is more partial to the cheese flavoured with leek and white wine.
To find out which part of the canals the boats are on at any given moment visit www.thecheeseboat.co.uk and check the ‘Where Are We Now’ page.
Other cheese boats are available
There’s more than one boat to buy cheese on the canal from! The Borders Cheese Carrying company uses an electrically propelled boat to travel around the Llangollen Canal, Trent & Mersey Canal, River Weaver and Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. From the boat they sell Snowdonia cheeses, organic caws cenarth cheeses, pickles and chutneys. Visit their website to find out where the boat is.