When husband-and-wife team Andy and Kathy Swinscoe returned to North Yorkshire to start a family, they found a giant Swiss cheese-sized hole in the area for artisan produce. They had always worked with traditional farmhouse cheeses, so the pair set up shop in a stone barn ideal for keeping cool temperatures. Five years on, the ethos of Courtyard Dairy is still all about sustainable, small-scale, non-intensive farming that maximises flavour and keeps family farms in rural areas alive.
Scan the counter and ask questions to uncover the stories behind each cheese. According to the Swinscoes, Etivaz epitomises how cheese should be made. Produced in the Swiss alps with traditional breeds of cow and with the milk heated in copper cauldrons over log fires, this cheese reflects its terroir beautifully. Next up, try Hafod cheddar. Expect a tangy and rich taste with a long buttery finish. You can almost taste the windswept hills of Wales and the happiness of the 65 Ayrshire cows that made it. If you’re more of a fan of blue cheese, Young Buck is your pick. Made by Michael Thomson, it’s pierced less than your average Stilton and matured slower to give it a complex depth of flavour.
Those living further afield or eager for a surprise can join the cheese club. Each month, a parcel arrives containing three different varieties (700g, £28) and a box of crackers to pile them on to. Inside, you will discover what’s in season and in its prime, as well as unique or developing cheeses that you’ll be the first to try. Opt for the five-cheese option (1.1kg, £45) if you’re expecting guests. Both come with detailed notes about each cheese and why they’ve been selected.
This article was published on 19th April 2017 so certain details may not be up to date.