Russell Haggata, who is the chief cheese taster at Morrisons, responsible for tasting more than 1,800 cheeses a year, joins the ranks of the world’s cheese experts. He is one of a handful of individuals from across the UK to be welcomed into the Guild Internationale des Fromagers.
Mr Haggata, from Huddersfield, joins an illustrious community of experts who have been promoting cheese-making for more than a century. The Guild features members from 33 countries and recently celebrated its 150th anniversary.
The cheese specialist was nominated and approved after the supermarket picked up 22 Gold medals and won Cheddar Cheese Retailer of the year at the world’s largest cheese show, the International Cheese Awards, this summer. All 22 cheeses were hand selected by Mr Haggata.
He has been the guardian of cheese quality at the Bradford-based retailer’s 492 stores for the last five years. Morrisons sells 316 different types of cheese.
He said: “I have dedicated most of my life to cheese and I am humbled to be given this induction into the guild. I am so proud to represent Britain on the world’s cheese making stage and help to promote the phenomenal range of cheeses that our country now makes.”
A Morrisons spokesman said: “Classic British cheeses, such as Cheddar and Somerset Crunch, are expected to be favourites with customers and the growing taste for Goat’s Cheese will lead to a record number appearing on people’s Christmas cheeseboards.”
Mr Haggata studied cheese at college for three years and became expert in the science of how four main ingredients – milk, cultures, coagulant and salt – can be converted into hundreds of different types of cheese. He has recently been given the job of discovering the best local British cheese, as Morrisons commits to stocking more from smaller producers throughout the country. New additions to the supermarket’s local cheese range include Trotter Hill from Lancashire, Cheddleton from Staffordshire and Caws Cenarth Brie from Carmarthenshire.