I've featured some seriously good cheese shops in this blog, and the recently opened Courtyard Dairy near Settle is definitely in the premier league!
It's situated in a group of traditional barns on the A65:
where in The Courtyard you'll also find an art gallery and brasserie, and upmarket shops selling hand crafted furniture as well as an excellent wine merchant Buon Vino, who'll sell you something different to go with your cheese.
is run by Andy Swinscoe, and his partner Kathy, and they know and care a lot about the cheese they sell.
Their cheeses are sourced from small farms and artisan producers and matured to perfection.
You're not going to find piles of blocks of pre-cut cheeses, sweating in cling film here!
And the only day you'll see processed cheese slices is on April Fools day - see here for a picture Andy put up J.
The bottle of Marc de Bourgogne (in the picture above) is not for Andy and Kathy - it's to go on the Langres, a creamy cheese made by Schertenleib in Champagne-Ardenne!
Like most good cheese shops, a sample to taste is freely given. They know that the more you try, the more you'll want to buy!
There's local cheeses, like Dale End Cheddar an unpasteurised clothbound cheese made by Alastair Pearson (no relation) in North Yorkshire at Botton Camphill Farming Community for adults with learning disabilities.
Also from North Yorkshire is Andy Ridley's Richard III Wensleydale. When I was in the shop, a customer who'd bought bought a small piece the previous day had come back to buy a massive piece because they'd enjoyed it so much.
There's some really good blue cheeses like Battlefield Blue (made by Jo and David Clarke in Leicestershire), Bleu des Causses (aged in natural caves in France), and Gorgonzola Dolce (made in Piemonte, Italy):
If you don't like cheese (maybe that's because you've never been to this shop?) there's charcuterie like Yorkshire chorizo and salami
From further afield there's good Italian cured meats like prosciutto, and finocchiona (a Tuscan salami flavoured with fennel):
and again you can try before you buy.
There's also things to go with your cheese:
like biscuits for your cheese and chutney made by Raydale preserves
They also have some stylish cheese boards, like these Burlington Slate:
My only complaint about this shop is that it's not nearer to my house - but their cheese can be delivered anywhere in mainland England, Wales and Central Scotland.
Since writing this post, Andy has moved to bigger and better premises. His address is below
The Courtyard Dairy
Crows Nest Barn
(The Former Falconry Centre)
Tel: 01729 823 291