By Daniel Hunter

Yorkshire's famous Wensleydale cheese has been given official protection from the European Commission.

The Wensleydale Creamery, has achieved Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status from the EU. This means no other cheese-maker outside the designated area can produce a cheese and called "Yorkshire Wensleydale".

Wensleydale cheese, much loved by TV duo Wallace & Gromit, joins a line-up of protected UK foods, including the Cornish Pasty and Cumberland Sausages.

David Hartley, managing director of The Wensleydale Creamery, said: “All of the team at The Wensleydale Creamery are thrilled that our cheese has now been recognised by the European Commission. Our heritage and provenance makes Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese taste truly unique and we’re delighted this is now officially recognised with PGI status.

“We’d like to thank everyone for their support for our application from our dedicated staff at The Creamery, our local community and of course our loyal customers in the UK and around the globe.

“PGI status is another vital part of our business growth plan and ensures The Wensleydale Creamery’s long term aim of keeping Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese production in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales for generations is now a reality.”

The foreign secretary, William Hague, who is also the local MP, said: “Achieving PGI status means many things for Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese; it means more international recognition and more awareness of The Wensleydale Creamery, everybody can see this tremendous mark of quality and it commands national and international respect for this great product. Above all, it means that to be Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, you really have to be Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese.

“For me, there is no greater delicacy in the world than Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese and fruitcake. It’s been great to see the business succeed and grow, especially over the last twenty years. The Wensleydale Creamery has become a great place for visitors to Wensleydale, as a tourist attraction, as well as producing this great range of remarkable cheeses.”

Farming minister, George Eustice, added: ‘It’s great to see Yorkshire Wensleydale join the growing number of British products registered under the protected food names scheme, especially at this time of year when the delicious cheese will be an essential item for the festive family cheeseboard. PGIs help to keep traditional recipes alive and make a valuable contribution to the local and national economy.”

In celebration of this newly acquired status, The Wensleydale Creamery is adding the PGI symbol to its packaging, reaffirming its true Yorkshire Wensleydale brand identity and helping to differentiate it over other Wensleydale cheese in the marketplace, which are made in other counties.

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