Canterbury cheesemaker tickles royal taste buds

A Canterbury cheesemaker is buzzing after Prince Charles sampled some of his cheese during the recent royal visit to New Zealand.

Emilio Festa produces cheese at his cheesery near Charing Cross in Selwyn and has a regular stall at the Lincoln Farmers Market.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, met with stallholders and well-wishers on Saturday morning as they took a tour of Lincoln Farmers and Craft Market.

Festa said the couple sampled cheeses before paying cash for a wedge of blue cheese.

The cheesemaker, who uses cow, sheep and goat milk from local producers to make his cheeses, said it was a thrill to meet the couple.

"It was an honour to meet the Prince and his wife, Camilla."

He said the future King also asked if he could ship cheese overseas, to which Festa answered, "anything is possible."

Award-winning cheesemaker Emilio Festa and his son Enrico meet Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Award-winning cheesemaker Emilio Festa and his son Enrico meet Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Photo credit: Supplied

Stallholder, Nataliya Ivashchenko‎, was also excited to meet the couple.

She and her husband, Yuriy, own Fermented Food and have a stall selling kombucha and sauerkraut.

"I visited the UK in 1998 and fell in love with the royals," she said.

"Charles asked about our sauerkraut and I had my photo with Camilla. It was very exciting."

Winegrower Scott Grant, of Red Leaf Winery, also got to speak to the couple when they visited his stall. He said they both seemed very interested in winemaking. 

"We talked about the wines I produce and I told them it's a labour of love," he said. 

"Prince Charles was very interested and asked about the local wine industry."

Stallholder and grower Isaac Green chatted to the future King about organic produce.

"He asked about what we grow and the organic process," he said.

"I was told he's interested in organic produce and that's why he came over to me."

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