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Happy International Women’s Day!

Happy International Women's Day. Lucie and Kate: owners of The Cheese Society

Happy International Women’s Day from all of us here at The Cheese Society!

As a women-led business, we love to support women in cheesemaking, which has quite a history.

Historically, women have taken on the role of cheesemaking, due to the division of labour on the farm. Men tended to do the “outside jobs” such as farming the land, and raising livestock, whilst women took on the “inside jobs” including childcare…and cheesemaking!

After World War Two, cheesemaking declined due to the pressures of the post-war economy, and the impact of rationing. Many traditional dairies were lost during this time.

It took the work of a select group of brave cheesemongers, many of them women, to re-ignite the UK’s passion for cheese. They re-introduced many classic recipes which had been lost to time, including Caerphilly, Gloucester, Lancashire, and Stilton.

Without our teams of female cheesemakers, the British cheese scene would look very different today.

On International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate a few women in cheese who make some of our favourite products. Without further ado, here they are!

Mary Davenport – Cote Hill Dairy

Mary is one-half of the brains behind Cote Hill Dairy, running the dairy and making cheeses with her husband, Michael. Cote Hill make the deliciously creamy COTE HILL BLUE which has been a longstanding favourite of ours.

The idea for Cote Hill Blue came about in 2005 when the milk price collapsed, and the farm had to diversify. According to Mary, the inspiration behind Cote Hill Blue was simply, “We like blue cheese!”.

International Women's Day. Mary from Cotehill. Mary is wearing a a white shirt and hat, and a blue apron. She is turning a Cote Hill Blue Cheese.

We stock three of Cote Hill’s cheeses regularly, which are hand-delivered to us by Mary herself: Cote Hill Blue, Lindum, and Snowdrop. You can find all three of these cheeses in our Taste of Lincolnshire box.

Mary Quicke’s – Quicke’s

Mary’s mother set up Quicke’s dairy shortly after coming to the farm in 1953. Mary herself returned to the farm in 1984 and worked to establish Quicke’s as a worldwide brand. Her daughter, Jane, also works at the farm, taking care of the finances.

Quicke’s is fortunate to have a wonderful team of women who work across all departments of the company. Nikki, Tracy, Valentina, Emma Stoyle, Emma Cordery, Sarah, and Holly put in tireless efforts to produce their amazing cheeses and provide excellent service to their customers.

It’s also worth mentioning the lovely ladies who make up the milking herd – they play a crucial role in making the cheese possible!

International Women's Day. Mary Quicke. Mary is standing is a field of cows wearing a blue coat. She is stroking a brown cow and smiling.

QUICKE’S ELDERFLOWER CHEESE is the perfect flavour for Spring.

Stacey Hedges and Charlotte Spruce – Hampshire Cheese Company

Stacey started making cheese in 2003 from her kitchen, using milk from her two goats. She set up a small creamery in 2005 with the vision to make the best soft cheese in the UK. Charlotte joined the team in 2006, heading up the operations, and now holds the title of Head Cheesemaker.

The Hampshire Cheese Company has developed into the award-winning company we know today, home to one of our staple cheeses, Tunworth, and a hit from our 2023 Christmas Cheeseboard box, Winslade.

International Women's Day. Stacey Hedges, maker of Tunworth and Winslade, is standing to the right of the frame wearing a white shirt and hat, and a blue apron. She is smiling to the camera. Behind her are racks of maturing cheeses.


We hope you have a fantastic day celebrating International Women’s Day with some of our favourite cheeses from female cheesemakers. Make sure you checkout the cheeses from these fabulous makers.

Many thanks to the teams at Cote Hill Dairy, Quicke’s, and the Hampshire Cheese Company for providing the information and photos for this blog.