Cheese Musings & Tips

Why is ash used in cheesemaking

Why is ash used in cheese-making?

Ever wondered about the pale grey dusting of ash on the outside of a goats cheese?  Or the thin wavy layer of black ash round running through the heart of…

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Why do goats cheese taste of goat?

Why do goats’ cheeses taste ‘goaty’? And why are some stronger than others?

Many people have been put off for life by tasting a really-ripe goats’ cheese – saying it is ‘like licking a goat’! But contrary to popular opinion, goats’ milk doesn’t…

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Using goats’ milk to make cheese – its history, science and challenges

Firstly lets debunk three broadly-held myths: Keeping the Billy Goat with your female goats is NOT the reason some goats’ cheeses taste ‘goatier’ than others, Goats are historic to the…

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Cheese carving model

Cheese Carving

In order to keep staff entertained during the Coronavirus pandemic, The Courtyard Dairy found some old ‘rejected’ cheeses (flavour profile was not good at all!) and challenged the staff to…

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Cheesemkaers say thank you

A big heartfelt thank you from the cheese-makers

When you buy farmhouse cheese you are supporting the farmer and his/her family. Shown below are just a few of the families and individuals you have supported and are continuing…

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Farm Made Raw Milk Cheese

Six reasons why we all should support British farmhouse cheese.

Farmhouse cheese is tasty – raw milk, heritage breeds, traditional grasses, pasture feeding, and slow, ancient cheese-making techniques quite simply make for unbeatable flavour. Continuing support of farm-made cheese is…

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Supporting ‘Send A Cow’ – helping feed Africa through dairy cows….

Cheese shop The Courtyard Dairy near Settle has teamed up with the charity ‘Send a Cow’ to celebrate ‘Februdairy’. For every new three-month subscription to The Courtyard Dairy’s popular monthly…

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Whin Yeats Fellstone Cheese

An interview with Tom & Clare Noblet of Whin Yeats Dairy (Fellstone Cheese)

Farmer and cheese-makers, Tom and Clare Noblet make Fellstone cheese on their farm near Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria. Andy interviewed them to find out what makes these fantastic cheese-makers tick….

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Salt Cheese Flavour Preservative Reduce Low

Why is salt added as an ingredient when making cheese? Well, it’s not just for flavour!

Salt is very important in cheesemaking, for as well as helping add to the flavour of cheese, it also controls the bacteria that grow inside the cheese, helps with texture…

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Difference Between Single and Double Gloucester

What is the difference between Single and Double Gloucester?

There are many opinions and different views on what makes a true Single or Double Gloucester and how they vary as cheeses. The height, the weight, the richness, the age…

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Complete list of cheeses stocked at The Courtyard Dairy

Listed below are all the cheeses normally available from The Courtyard Dairy cheese shop.  Other ‘guest’ cheeses are occasionally available that may not appear online – please phone Andy on…

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Crunchy Crystals in Cheese

What are the crunchy crystals found in hard cheese?

Well, if you thought it was salt, you’d be wrong! We do know what causes the crystalline white deposits found within hard cheeses. It isn’t common salt, and in fact…

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Hafod Cheese Nick Millard

Farming at Hafod Cheese – a year in review, as told by herdsman Nick Millard

The farm began 2017 under a substantial cloud of bovine Tuberculosis (bTB). Unfortunately we had a quite terrible test result just before Christmas 2016 and were counting down the days…

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Barry Graham Loch Athur Cheese

Barry Graham of Loch Arthur – one of the pioneers of the British Cheese revival

Farmhouse British cheese has seen an enormous revival in recent years with brand new Bries, blues and brilliant bloomy goats’ cheeses. But things were not always thus; for many years…

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Martin Gott St James Cheese

Cheese Chats Episode 3: Martin Gott on ‘Natural’ Cheesemaking

An in-depth video interview with Martin Gott, maker of St James Cheese and one of Britain’s foremost cheese-makers. In this 50-minute podcast, Andy & Kathy of The Courtyard Dairy chat…

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Low Riggs Farm - Stonebeck Cheese

Cheese Chats Episode 2: Andrew Hattan on Upland Farming in The Dales

Andrew Hattan, of Low Riggs Farm in Nidderdale, who makes Stonebeck Cheese talks to Andy of The Courtyard Dairy.  In this hour-long podcast and video Andrew talks on his experiences…

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Graham Kirkham Lancashire Cheese

Cheese Chats Episode 1: Graham Kirkham on Tradition

Graham Kirkham talks about what tradition means to him and for his farm in this 50-minute podcast or video. This interview with Andy & Kathy explores British farmhouse cheese in…

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Grass fed cheese, meat and dairy – What is it and who does it?

Take a glance at many supermarket cheese or milk labels and you’ll often see a picture of a happy cow in a field. The reality is very different, however, because…

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Cheese gifts for Father’s Day

Here are Kathy’s and Andy’s favourite cheese gifts and gift selections for this coming Father’s Day.

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Mikes Fancy Cheese Co

An Interview with Mike Thomson: creator of Young Buck Blue

A brief synopsis of your business and career? I run Mike’s Fancy Cheese and we make a raw-milk blue cheese called Young Buck, here in Newtownards. We have been making…

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Cheese Centre Experience

The Courtyard Dairy’s New Venture….

No doubt a few of you will know already about The Courtyard Dairy’s purchase of the former Yorkshire Dales Falconry Centre on the A65 near Settle.  The plan is for…

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Cheese Air Freshner

Yorkshire Business Develops New Cheese Air Freshener

Owners of The Courtyard Dairy in Settle have developed a brand-new ‘air freshener’ that gives off a cheesy whiff!  The device is incorporated into a simple 13A plug that can…

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Prince Charles Royal Visit Cheese

HRH The Prince of Wales visits The Courtyard Dairy

Last Wednesday, 22nd March, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales called in to sample the cheeses at The Courtyard Dairy. Andy and Kathy Swinscoe were thrilled that His Royal…

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Raw Milk Appreciation Day

Raw Milk Appreciation Day (22nd April 2017)

Once a year, cheese-makers and cheesemongers across the globe celebrate the production of raw milk and raw milk cheeses on Raw Milk Appreciation Day. Small scale farmhouse cheese makers that…

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Father's Day Cheese Gift

Get your dad the perfect gift this Father’s Day

Dads are hard to buy for, and with Father’s Day approaching (Sunday 18th June) choosing just how to please them best is difficult.  But there is one thing that most…

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HRH Prince of Wales with Cheese

His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales to visit The Courtyard Dairy

This Wednesday, 22nd March, Andy and Kathy Swinscoe, owners of The Courtyard Dairy will be thrilled to welcome his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to their shop.  The Prince…

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The history of fruitcake paired with cheese

If you’ve heard that Northerners are apparently keen on a wedge of fruitcake to complement their cheese, you might be asking is it just a rumour, or is it a…

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History of British Cheese

A History of British Cheese – The modern-day British Cheese Revival.

With British artisan cheese all but disappearing in post-war Britain, things were indeed dire for farmhouse cheese makers. A few continued to make cheese, encouraged by the remaining great cheesemongers…

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Cais Na Tire Sheep Cheese

An Interview with Barry Cahalan: sheep farmer, and owner of Cais Na Tire cheese

An interview with Barry Cahalan; farmer and owner of the fabulous Cais Na Tire cheese! Find out what Barry loves on the food scene, his ethos for his business and…

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Mike Smales of Lyburn Cheese

An interview with Mike Smales: farmer and maker of Old Winchester cheese

Tell us briefly about your business and your career. We have been milking cows here (starting with just 3!) since 1952, on the tenancy farm we obtained. The farm has…

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Barhwey's Cheddar

An interview with Tricia Bey: owner of Barwhey’s Farm

Brief synopsis of your business & career? Prior to setting up Barwhey’s cheese I lived in London – working for many years as a management consultant and then MD of…

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Cheese wedding cake testimonials & pictures (3 of 4)

Some pictures and comments from customers who have previously celebrated with Cheese Wedding Cakes from The Courtyard Dairy.

(part 3)

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Stichelton Cheese Dairy

An interview with Joe Schneider: creator of Stichelton

An interview with Joe Schneider; creator and cheese-maker of the fabulous Stichelton cheese! Find out what Joe loves on the food scene, his ethos for his business, how he got…

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low riggs hattan cheese

Choosing the right cow breed: a case study of Low Riggs Farm, North Yorkshire

When Andrew and Sally Hattan took over the tenancy of run-down upland farm Low Riggs Middlesmoor, Nidderdale, in 2007, their goal was to create a farm that cared for the…

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Groaning cheese ritual

Andy & Kathy Recreate Age-old ‘Passing a Baby through Cheese’ Tradition

The Courtyard Dairy, has re-enacted an age-old tradition of passing a newborn baby through a wheel of cheese. Andy and his wife Kathy (owner’s of Settle’s award-winning cheesemonger) found out…

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Cow breed banner

Do different cow breeds make a difference to cheese quality?

If you go into any good cheese shop, you’ll often hear the cheesemongers talking about the breed of cow that produced the milk from which a cheese was made. Phrases…

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Government to make not eating cheese illegal?

THE UK’s Department for Dairy (UKDforD) has today released an official white paper stating that the government intends over the next five years to incentivise all UK adults to eat…

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Cheese wedding cake testimonials & pictures (2 of 4)

Some pictures and comments from customers who have previously celebrated with Cheese Wedding Cakes from The Courtyard Dairy.

(part 2)

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Cheese wedding cake testimonials & pictures (part 1 of 4)

A selection of pictures and comments from customers who have previously celebrated with Cheese Wedding Cakes from The Courtyard Dairy

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How to decorate your cheese wedding cake tower: (part 4 of 4)

Some pictures, decoration ideas and comments from customers who have previously celebrated with Cheese Wedding Cake Towers from The Courtyard Dairy.

(part 4)

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Young buck cheese mike fancy

Meet Mike – maker of Young Buck cheese | An exclusive tasting

An exclusive cheese tasting and an opportunity to discover the story behind Young Buck – directly from the man who makes it.

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Blue cheese mould

Blue cheese – what is the blue mould, and how does it come about?

How does the blue veining come about – is it mould?  And how does it get in the cheese?

Find out all the answers here from the history of blue cheese…

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Why cheese red

Why is red cheese ‘red’?

Have you ever wondered why some cheeses, like Cheshire, Red Leicester and Shropshire Blue, have such a dark red/orangey hue?  And did you wonder “Is it natural?”

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Hafod cheddar sam holden banner

An interview with Sam Holden: maker of Hafod cheese

An interview with Sam Holden; cheese-maker of the fabulous Hafod cheese! Find out what Sam loves on the food scene, the ethos for his business and his recommendations on the…

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Washed rind cheese

What is a ‘washed-rind’ cheese? And why do they smell?

Ever wondered why some cheeses really stink?  And what is a ‘washed-rind’ cheese?  Find out here…

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Tunworth cheese

An interview with Stacey Hedges: maker of Tunworth cheese

An interview with Stacey Hedges; cheese-maker of the fabulous Tunworth and Winslade cheeses! Find out what Stacey loves on the food scene, her ethos for her business and her recommendations…

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Rollright Cheese From Kingstone Dairy

An interview with David Jowett: maker of Rollright Cheese

Brief synopsis of your business & career? We began experimental cheesemaking on the 9th March 2015, and began to sell cheese in August 2015 The cheese dairy itself was built…

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An interview with Marion Roeleveld: goat farmer and maker of Killeen cheese

An interview with Marion Roeleveld; farmer and cheese-maker of the fabulous Killeen cheese! Find out what Marion loves on the food scene, her ethos for her business and her recommendations…

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John Rudden: an interview with chef/owner of Grassington House Hotel

An interview with John Rudden, owner and chef of the award winning Grassington House Hotel. Find out what he loves on the food scene, his ethos for food and his…

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Amazing Etivaz: come to an exclusive limited-availability tasting…

Last month Andy and Kathy went to visit Frederic and Irene Chabloz, one of the few producers of Etivaz cheese.  Perched 1550m high on the side of a mountain, they…

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Raw milk cheese revolution

Unpasteurised v. Pasteurised cheese – what are the differences?

What is the difference between cheeses made with raw and pasteurised milk?  Does it make a difference to flavour? Are there any health concerns?

Click below to a balanced article on…

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An interview with Sarah Hampton: creator of Capra Nouveau

An interview with Sarah Hampton; farmer and cheese-maker of the fabulous Capra Nouveau cheese! Find out what Sarah loves on the food scene, her ethos for her business and her…

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Brie vs. Camembert – what is the difference between Brie and Camembert?

I once had an esteemed food critic come into the shop and say “well, Brie and Camembert – they’re the same thing anyway”.  Not wanting to contradict and upset him…

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Unusual French Cheeses for Bastille Day

This is the month to talk about French cheese – what better time to celebrate French cheese than Bastille Day on Tuesday 14th July.  So this July give a little…

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An interview with best-selling food writer and TV chef: Valentine Warner

Find out what got Val into food, his secret foodie ‘gems’ and what he loves about the British food scene in this interview with Valentine Warner; cook, TV presenter and…

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List of Organic Cheesemakers in the UK

Below lists all the organic cheese producers in the UK, from farmhouse to large scale; those cheeses that are made with UNPATEURISED (RAW) organic milk are further highlighted.

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At last! The cheese-with-no-name is named!

After several months of hand-wringing at The Courtyard Dairy along with cheese-maker Haydn Roberts has finally chosen the name for their recently-developed goats’-milk ‘cheese with no name’.  A competition to…

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The Courtyard Dairy interviews food writer: Jenny Linford

An interview with Jenny Linford; food and cookery book writer – including author of the fabulous Great British Cheese Book.  Find out what got Jenny into food, her secret foodie…

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Martin Gott: an interview with the creator of St James cheese

An interview with Martin Gott; farmer and cheese-maker of the fabulous St James cheese! Find out what Martin loves on the food scene, his ethos for his business and his…

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What makes a cheese a Cheddar cheese?

The world’s most popular cheese, Cheddar still accounts for over half of all British cheese sales (52%), but what exactly is Cheddar?  

Made in Somerset?  

Aged for over a year? 


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Chris Wildman: an interview

An interview with Chris Wildman; butcher, farmer, retailer and all round Yorkshire food hero! Find out what Chris loves on the food scene, his ethos for his business and his…

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Claire and Anthony Kitching: an interview with Friends of Ham

An interview with Claire and Anthony Kitching, owner and creators of the inspirational Leeds bar: Friends of Ham. Find out what they love on the food scene, their ethos for…

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Struggling to think of a gift for your dad next month? (Father’s Day is Sunday 21st June)

We all know that dads love cheese (and beer!), so Andy Swinscoe from The Courtyard Dairy, has come up with some top gift ideas for this Father’s Day, gifts your dad…

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The British Cheese Awards

Another May passes and The British Cheese Awards have yet again graced their medals and awards to the best cheese makers (and mongers) in the country.

Juliet Harbutt started The British…

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British Territorial Cheeses – traditional British cheeses and their characteristics

Ever wondered what makes a Caerphilly, Cheshire and Cheddar different? 

Click below to see what characteristics a cheese grader would expect Britain’s key territorial’s to exhibit: examining their body and texture, flavour and…

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Exploring territorial British Cheese – from Cheddar to Cheshire: what’s the difference?

The traditional British Cheese types are often called the ‘territorials’; as they take name from the counties or areas where they come from, but what is the difference?  Find out…

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Pigs milk cheese developed in North Yorkshire

Over the last few months local North Yorkshire business The Courtyard Dairy and Blue Pig Company have teamed up to develop a brand new cheese: one made from pigs milk!

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What is an artisan cheese? And what do the words traditional and farmhouse mean?

‘Farmhouse’, ‘traditional’ and ‘artisan’ are not protected terms so essentially mean nothing! This blurs the boundaries as far as the consumer is concerned – so what is an artisan, traditional…

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Top Ten Cheese Gifts for Mother’s Day

Yes, it’s that time of year again… and don’t forget that mums love cheese!

Here are ten amazing cheese gifts just right for mums that love cheese:

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Help name a brand-new cheese…

Win a three-month subscription to The Courtyard Dairy Monthly Cheese Club by simply thinking of a name for a brand-new goats’ cheese

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Valentine Day cheese gifts

For this year’s St Valentine’s Day you could keep up this tradition and give the cheese-lover in your life a delightful heart-shaped cheese (or maybe a whole cheese gift box!)….

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Monthly cheese delivery – how do we decide which cheeses to send?

Every month cheese lovers all over the UK receive a box of cheese delights delivered to their door from The Courtyard Dairy.  But how does The Courtyard Dairy decide which…

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Celebrate Scotland’s superb artisan cheeses this Burns Night

Cheese isn’t just for Christmas!  And with Burns Night on its way shortly after, what better time is there to celebrate all things Scottish by rounding off your Burns Night…

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Frequently Asked Questions – the monthly cheese club gift

Every month cheese selections are delivered to lucky cheese lovers throughout the UK as part of the monthly cheese club.  If you are thinking of subscribing, or giving it as…

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The best cheese jokes; Caerphilly does it – they’re Gouda!

A list of the common and well known cheese jokes frequently heard in the shop … from cheeses to tempt a bear out of the woods (Camembert) to cheeses you…

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Unveiling The Courtyard Dairy’s brand new Camembert Bakers.

This week has seen the delivery of a new, long-awaited product: Camembert Bakers. 

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A Christmas cheeseboard with a difference

For those that want to make a unusual and different cheeseboard this Christmas, or are looking for a gift for cheese-lovers that is a bit different, here are some brilliant…

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Raclette grills

Recreate that classic Alpine experience thanks to this intuitively designed raclette grill from Swiss manufacturer Stöckli.

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Christmas cheese gift ideas

For those that want to be the envy of their friends by offering the best cheeseboard this Christmas, here are some Christmas cheeseboard ideas to help them choose a cheese…

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What is the difference between ‘crumbly’, ‘creamy’ and ‘tasty’ Lancashire cheese?

Read about the different Lancashire cheeses: crumbly, creamy and tasty.  Find out more about how they came about and what makes them taste so different!

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Cheesy joke competition!

With World Smile Day (3rd October) fast approaching, we have decided to run a competition to find some new ‘cheesy’ jokes.  Come up with your best pun and enter to…

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Buying cheese online – what you should look for

Buying cheese online in the UK can be a daunting task – just how can you be sure who you are buying from and the quality of their cheese? 

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Top 10 cheese gifts for men

Whether it is for Father’s Day or for a birthday, here are The Courtyard Dairy’s top 10 best-selling cheese gifts for men:

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The history of Vacherin Mont d’Or cheese

A justifiably famous French and Swiss Cheese, Vacherin Mont d’ Or.  But how did it come about?  And why is it still seasonal….

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Yorkshire cheeses: what are the very best Yorkshire cheeses?

Being a Yorkshire cheesemonger and with Yorkshire Day fast approaching (1st August) I thought now is an especially appropriate time to champion Yorkshire cheese!

Click below to read a brief history…

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The ideal cheese gift selection?

Cheese lovers everywhere purchase their cheese online from The Courtyard Dairy.  Quite often, the cheese they purchase is not for them, but is intended as a gift, maybe for a…

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Richard 3rd wensleydale banner

Richard III Wensleydale cheese – what makes it different?

Why does The Courtyard Dairy stock Richard 3rd Wensleydale, instead of the very good Wensleydale cheese made at Hawes Creamery?

Find out by clicking below….

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America’s ban on cheese mites

The FDA in American is banning some cheeses due to cheese mites.

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Cheese types, part two – classifying cheese types by texture and flavour

An explanation into the various methods of classifying cheese types by their texture and flavour.

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Different cheese types, part one – classifying cheese by how it is made

An explanation of the methods of classifying cheese by how it is made.

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Best new cheese uk

Cheeses to watch 2014 – Young Buck Cheese and Nettlebed Creamery

Every year, brilliant, new, unusual and exciting cheeses are developed in the UK.  Last year, for example, saw the introduction of Little Anne, Baron Bigod and Cais Na Tire.

Here are…

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Mother’s Day cheese gifts – a selection of the best…

With Mother’s Day fast approaching now is the time to choose that cheese gift for your Mum!  

If your Mum is a cheese lover, or you are just tired of…

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Where to buy the best cheese? Britain’s best cheese shops….

We appreciate that not everyone lives in North Yorkshire to buy cheese from The Courtyard Dairy and click here to view  some of Andy and Kathy’s favourite cheese shops and…

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What is the blue veining in traditional Cheddar? And can I eat it?

I’m often asked if the natural blue vein that finds its way into non-blue cheese is edible.  The answer is: by and large, yes.

But what is it and how…

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Mail order cheese: the eco-friendly way The Courtyard Dairy packages each cheese delivery ordered online

The Courtyard Dairy pays tremendous attention to ensure the highest quality of cheese is sold in the cheese shop or sent out for delivery direct to the customer, so that…

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Cheese gifts. How to choose the perfect cheese selection…

If you have cheese lover as a friend or relative, then a cheese gift may just be the perfect present for them, whether it’s for their birthday, a special treat…

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Scottish cheese banner

Scottish cheese – the great revival

Scotland had lost all its farmhouse cheeses. They’d all gone to the great farmhouse cheese heaven.


In 1972, the Scottish Farmhouse Cheese-makers Trophy was discontinued, but a recent resurgence has…

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Using separators for your cheese wedding cake

If you’d like to add height to your cheese wedding cake why not add separators between each layer.

See more about how these separators work by clicking below.

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Where to buy local food

It’s not all about cheese!  Sometimes Kathy and I have to eat other things too.

Click below to read more are some of the favourite places we have found to buy…

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The history of Stilton cheese: from it’s origins to present day….

The English have a trump card – Stilton.  An elderly English cheesemonger once visiting me in France once said: “The French still can’t do the blue ones, eh?”  To be…

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How to create a Christmas cheeseboard

Christmas and cheese go hand in hand, and there simply isn’t a better way to finish off the Christmas meal than with a glass of Port and a chunk of…

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Botton Creamery, Pies, Puds and Paul Hollywood

Botton Village (and creamery) on the North Yorkshire Moors finally gets some recognition it deserves for the mighty fine Yorkshire cheeses it makes.

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The great cheddar heist

September 29th 1998.  10 days before the British Cheese Awards results are released.  Will Montgomery’s Cheddar win ‘Best Cheddar’ and ‘Best Traditional British Cheese’ for the third year on the…

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Brilliant new cheeses to watch out for…

Details and an introduction into five of the best newly invented British Artisan cheeses from this year.  Including Baron Bigod, Cais Na Tire, Little Anne…

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Mites, mites, glorious cheese mites!

Cheese mites. An age-old enemy. They revel in life’s lactic joys , burrowing they way deep into the rind. Slowly but surely eating their way through dry, aged cheese, turning…

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Rennet in cheese – the science: how does rennet work?

Rennet is one of the most important tools in making any cheese.  But how does it work and what does it do?

Read more by clicking the link below.

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James Aldridge – a true pioneer of artisan British cheese

James Aldridge became a leading figure in the revival of specialist farmhouse cheese. It is thanks to these visionaries like him that unpasteurised farmhouse cheese was kept alive. They kick-started…

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Cheese Wedding Cakes – how do you choose the right one for you?

For those of you wanting to buy a cheese wedding cake to help you celebrate your special day, you’ll want to choose cheeses that are important to you and are…

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The history of heart shaped cheese – St. Valentine’s and Neufchatel cheese

Contrary to popular belief, heart-shaped cheeses are not a recent invention for the Valentine’s Day bandwagon, but originated over 500 years ago. 

To read the story of heart-shaped cheeses, click below….

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Running a cheese-shop … for dummies. (4/4)

Part four –  the first few weeks..

Part four of the four-part series on how The Courtyard Dairy was created.  Click below to read more….

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Opening a cheese-shop … for dummies. (3/4)

Part three – chilling it down.

Part three of the four-part series on how The Courtyard Dairy was created. Click below to read more….

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Opening a cheese-shop … for dummies. (2/4)

Part two – getting it open.

Part two of the four-part series on how The Courtyard Dairy was created.  Click below to read more….

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Opening a cheese-shop … for dummies. (1/4)

Part One – choosing the right place for a cheese shop.

Part one of the four-part series on how The Courtyard Dairy was created.  Click below to read more….

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Rennet: what is the difference between vegetarian and animal rennet?

Rennet is essential in cheesemaking, but with more and more vegetarian cheeses on the market how does vegetarian rennet fit in?  And how is it different from ‘traditional rennet’?  Does it affect the flavour?…

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Historical cheesemaking: Dora Saker, the Ministry of Agriculture & my Great Gran

Getting my hands-upon a frayed ancient cheesemaking book by Dora Saker was the start of my investigations into ancient cheesemaking techniques…

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Gloucester cheese rolling – my experience

Every Spring Bank Holiday the most important event in any cheese-enthusiasts calendar takes place…. Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling. When mad men (and women) chase after a 9lb cheese chucked down the…

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