The ambassadorial sofa is normally reserved for American presidents – not Castleford cheesemongers.
But last Thursday representatives from Cryer and Stott parked their derrieres in the head of state suite at the British Embassy in Paris.
Director Richard Holmes and business development manager Jemma Flowers, from the Allerton Bywater-based firm, were invited to the ambassador’s residence last week as part of their Grand Fromage Depart to celebrate the 100-day cultural festival counting down to the Tour de France.
The cheese gurus were invited by lady ambassador Suzanne Ricketts to give a Yorkshire cheese tasting at the British Embassy.
Ms Flowers said: “Paris was amazing. When we pulled up outside the embassy, it was so grand. We walked up a long courtyard and the ambassador’s butler came and met us.”
The duo were then led up to an opulent state room. Ms Flowers added: “There were pictures of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, George Bush Senior. The butler told us, ‘These are the people who have had meetings at the embassy, and have sat on the sofa you are sitting on.’ It was so surreal, because we are only a small family run business, to be sitting somewhere where Bill Clinton had actually sat.”
Mr Holmes and Ms Flowers presented Mrs Ricketts and her chefs with a white rose cheeseboard. It contained their own Rhuby Crumble and Yorkshire Cask. The former was made with rhubarb and vanilla, the latter with beer.
Both went down well, with Mrs Ricketts, the ambassador’s wife, explaining the ingredients in French to the embassy’s head chef. The beer cheese is now set to be incorporated into the residence’s menu after Cryer and Stott left a dozen Yorkshire cheeses behind. And the company will be part of a embassy event later this month celebrating the best of Yorkshire, which hosts two stages of the Tour de France this summer.
While in Paris the cheese makers also took a tour of local markets and producers. Their fact-finding tour included learning how Petit Langre is made. The cow’s milk cheese is hand-washed in champagne every day for six weeks.
Mr Holmes will give a 15-minute address about their French trip to the Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Livingston, and Welcome to Yorkshire chief Gary Verity in Leeds on Friday.