If you haven’t made the trip the Courtyard Dairy in Settle, then you should. Mandy reported on the opening in 2013 and since then Andy and Kathy have gone from strength to strength, picking up a swathe of awards along the way. Simply, it is one of the best cheese counters in Britain.
In 2017 the Dairy moved a few miles up the road (the former falconary sanctuary) with an expanded shop, a small museum charting the development of farmhouse cheese, a production room where courses are held and upstairs a cheese centred café.
The shop is the hub, packed with 30 farmhouse cheeses, many of them unpasteurised, hand picked, nurtured and matured by Andy. Yes, 30 not 130. Quality before quantity. You need an almighty turnover to keep 130 cheeses in peak condition and Andy nurtures and matures them himself. The cheeses are all from a diminishing band of independent cheesemakers in the UK and Europe, some of them quite tiny, like Mario Olianas’s Yorkshire Percorino made in Adel, Leeds.
A self-confessed cheese nerd, Andy or his well-informed staff will lead you through the cheeses, with the stories behind them. Among my favourites are Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire, Michael Thomson’s Young Buck, a gentle blue cheese from Northern Ireland; the buttery Hafod Welsh cheddar; and Dale End and Moorland Tomme made at Botton Village on the North York Moors.
If you can’t get to the shop, then order by post or join the monthly Cheese Club. Cheese nerds like Andy can attend one of his one day cheese-making courses. Raclette, fondue, cheeseboards and toasted sandwiches are on the menu in the cafe.
Open: Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30pm/Sun 10.30-4.30pm
The Courtyard Dairy
Crows Nest Barn,
(Former Falconry Centre),
Austwick, Nr. Settle, LA2 8AS