The Staffordshire Cheese Company was founded in 1994 by John Knox, who had a dream of re-establishing the long-lost art of cheese-making in Staffordshire. After much research and hard work, he began to experiment in a 500 sq. foot unit.
His first cheese, Archie’s Choice (now called “Cheddleton Original”) won first prize in its category at Bakewell show in 1998. Much encouraged, he moved to a 2500 sq. foot factory in Cheddleton and was soon producing 10 different cheeses, all of which proved exceptionally popular.
In 2002, the cheeses were discovered by Rick Stein who made John one of his “Food Heroes”, believing that “mass produced food often extracts a high price on the environment, on rural communities, on the survival of traditional cultures and skills.” Stein also says, in his ‘Guide to the Food Heroes of Britain’ “painstakingly maintaining traditional methods, passing them on through their families and staff, when a modern approach would certainly be more profitable.” John achieved a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) for his Staffordshire in 2003 and Dovedale Blue has now received the same accolade.
The cheese production unit is still based at Cheddleton, near Leek.
Sold at local markets, and to pubs, hotels, delicatessens, restaurants, tea rooms, tourist sites and farm shops, these unique cheeses are increasingly sought-after.