How to make Dairylea.

I’ve said some stupid things in my time on this planet.

Like the time I confidently wrote an article in a technology magazine deriding Twitter as a passing fad for losers.

Or the time I said, “Sure it’ll fit” right before gouging a deep hole in the wall with the edge of a new sofa.

But top of the long list of Stupid Stuff That Sally Said must be when I – as a new, innocent parent – said, “Of course, Flea will only ever eat organic, home-made food.” 

Clearly, I’d forgotten my own idleness when making this statement. Either that, or I had really, really high hopes for the nanny.

Anyway, as time went on I’ve become more relaxed about food, and Flea is now familiar with the noble pizza, the freshly grilled sausage, and the odd packet of crisps.

One are where I refuse to compromise my principles, though, is cheese.

I know many bloggers feel passionately about bacon, but for me it’s all about cheese. Whether it’s mature cheddar melted on toast, or a chunk of brie on a baguette, I love it.

I vividly remember recoiling from the refrigerator in the supermarket the day I looked at the ingredients on one of those kid-friendly cheese packages to see the main ingredient listed as “cheese food”. Seriously?

Life’s too short to eat something called “cheese food”.

Flea felt much the same, too, having been raised on proper cheese. I remember once being at a motorway service station and completely stuck for something to feed Flea as a toddler. In desperation, I bought her a mini Babybel. Flea chewed it, looked completely disgusted, tried to swallow, and promptly threw it back up with a stern, Not cheese, Mummy.” 

So we were both really pleased to be invited down to London to meet with Dairylea, who have recently modified the recipe of their cheese to remove all the emulsifiers and replace them with just seven entirely natural ingredients. So to make Dairylea now, you only need milk, butter, cheese, lemon juice and baking soda. (Technically you also need a factory to turn some of the milk into whey powder and proteins, but you get the idea). You can even make your own cheese spread by melting cheese into some milk, adding a bit of butter, lemon, baking soda and ‘whey proteins’ – admittedly, I’m not sure quite which aisle at Tesco those are sold on, but it was pretty good fun to make my own cheese spread.

We had a fab day with the Dairylea team at Surrey Docks City Farm, with Jo, Pippa, Jen, Chrissie and Alex – the kids got a chance to meet lots of animals and also make their own cheese spread.  The new recipe tastes exactly the same as old Dairylea, so far as I can tell, and it’s a good option for kids who find regular cheese too strong a flavour. I’m still not keen but Flea gave the new recipe a thumbs up.

The company is also running a promotion on its Facebook page where you can reclaim the cost of a packet of new Dairylea, giving you the chance to try it for free – marvellous. Now there’s never an excuse for anyone to have to buy “cheese food”.

Disclosure: our expenses to attend this event were met by Dairylea. Opinions our own. 


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