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Calderdale's Dama Cheese beats Yorkshire's best to win big at White Rose Awards

Yorkshire Dama Cheese win at the White Rose Awards
Yorkshire Dama Cheese win at the White Rose Awards

A Sowerby Bridge company has beaten Yorkshire's best as it scooped a top tourism award as more than 1,000 people attended Welcome to Yorkshire’s Big Night Out at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

The White Rose Awards, which are the UK’s largest celebration of tourism, saw businesses from across the county go head to head in 17 different categories, from Restaurant of the Year, to the Art and Culture award.

Yorkshire Dama Cheese won in the Makers and Producers category.

The business is a story of inspirational bravery by a woman who refused to let her circumstances define or constrain her.

It is about finding a new place to call home and new experiences which has lead to the creation of a British multi-award winning cheese and dairy company.

Here Razan Alsous, the Founder of Yorkshire Dama Cheese, tells her personal story here:

“We came to the UK after the war in Syria in 2012. With my husband and three young children, we had lost almost everything and had to settle into a new life in Yorkshire.
"Initially I began searching for a job but despite having a pharmacy degree and a scientific background my lack of references and work history in the UK made it extremely difficult.

"After some time I started to look at other options. I have three children and wanted so badly to build a bright future for them. So I started to think what was around me – the expertise I could tap into, the sources of support and other opportunities available to me.

"As I couldn’t find a great tasting quality squeaky cheese anywhere in the supermarkets or local independent farm shops I then had a brainwave: why not create a business and make myself HALOUM! cheese from fresh high quality British milk!

"And so started our journey- with an idea and a Start up loan of just £2500 from the local Enterprise Agency.

"We had to adapt the equipment we bought and then finally got the approval to start manufacturing HALOUM! cheese in June 2014.

"We called our first product Yorkshire HALOUM! as the cheese is made from Yorkshire milk and has a firm but squeaky texture when grilled, similar to traditional halloumi cheese.

"After just four months of production we won the the WORLD CHEESE AWARD Bronze Prize 2014/15, highlighting the true quality of our cheese."