If you love cheese then you’re going to love this next post.
I received an email out of the blue from a chap called Andy Swinscoe who, after years of experience in the cheese industry in the UK and France, has opened his own specialised cheese shop called The Courtyard Dairy just outside the dales town of Settle. Andy invited us up to come and taste some of his wares and as we were in the market for some New Year’s cheese action we had a little ‘run out’. We didn’t expect the dales to be awash with flood water either, but it made for an interesting drive I can tell you.
Andy and his partner Kathy have a wonderful little shop in an up market development called The Courtyard. It’s a super little collection of food and lifestyle outlets – a nice brasserie, a cheeky wine shop, an art gallery etc. He has selected his location wisely although for personal reasons I wish he was closer to Leeds!
We bought far too much (that happened to get eaten btw) and here’s what we bought, for the unpasteurised record:
Stichelton – essentially a traditional Stilton, not made by the Stilton mafia
Dale End Cheddar – wonderful, powerful, crunchy, mature
Gorgonzola Dolce – our favourite: unctuous and velvety
Old Winchester – aged gouda
Selles sur cher – aged French goats cheese, a delight
Aged Gruyere – definitely not like the stuff in plastic in the supermarket
There is only one phrase to describe Andy and that is cheese geek. I’m not sure that is ever been used to describe anyone but he really does know his fromage. Inside out and back to front. He purposefully keeps the selection small – around thirty cheeses, mostly unpasteurised – to keep them fresh and turning over. We tasted so many interesting cheeses that after a while we had cheese blindness – you really need to go and have a dibble yourself.
It’s wonderful to meet people who are so passionate about what they are doing that it shines out. The Courtyard Dairy deserves to be a huge success.