The Courtyard Dairy, which opened last December on the A65 near Settle, has been awarded “Best New Cheese Retailer” at the prestigious annual British Cheese Awards that took place last Friday in Oxfordshire.
The awards have been running since 1994 and aim ‘to raise the profile of British cheese and create a recognised symbol of excellence for all British cheese’. The first award of the evening goes to the Best New Cheese Retailer, and this year the judges were particularly impressed by the way The Courtyard Dairy showcases unique small farmhouse cheese-makers in Britain, and the depth of The Courtyard Dairy’s dedication to supplying only the highest-quality cheese, and only in perfect condition.
The Courtyard Dairy’s young managing partner, Andy Swinscoe, who is also their principle ‘affineur’ (cheese-refiner), was delighted to accept the award: “We aim to provide the public with a range of cheese that recognises the skill of the independent cheese-makers in Britain, and showcases the amazing quality and diversity that is available today,” he said.
Andy set up The Courtyard Dairy last December with his partner, Kathy, and the business has since gone from strength to strength, supplying not only direct to the public through the shop and online, but also to top-class restaurants throughout the north of England. Andy visits each cheese-maker regularly and spends time working alongside them: “I need to ensure that I fully understand the nature of each cheese, so that I can use the skills I acquired as a student of Hervé Mons in France to further age and mature the cheese. That way, every cheese we sell will have a flavour that is delicious, special and unique.”
One of the cheeses stocked by The Courtyard Dairy is Tunworth, which was awarded ‘Supreme Champion’ at the awards ceremony. “I congratulate Tunworth on this outstanding and very well-deserved achievement,” said Andy, “We are excited to work with such excellent cheese-makers, and to be able to stock some of the very best cheeses that Britain has to offer. The Courtyard Dairy is only a small shop, but winning the Best New Cheese Retailer award will help to ensure that it has a big future.”