Grab your shopping bags – according to Deputy Editor Kayleigh Rattle, these independent cheese specialists are the cream of the crop!
The Fine Cheese Company
Located within the heart of England’s West Country (home of British Cheddar) this Bath-based establishment is a cheese lover’s sweet shop. You’ll find over 100 British handmade cheeses, as well as local Somerset varieties including Montgomery’s Cheddar and Hafod. Don’t miss their ’Big Birthday Cake’ – a stack of cheeses which comes with a candle and party popper! It serves 12… or one! finecheese.co.uk
The Courtyard Dairy
Housed in an old stone barn in the Yorkshire Dales, The Courtyard Dairy’s location is as rustic and artisan as the cheese it sells. Weave your way past wheels of ageing cheeses and you’ll find British favourites such as Stichleton, Kirkham’s Lancashire, Dorstone and Tunworth, as well as a whole host of newcomer cheeses – all of which have been carefully hand-selected. Don’t worry if you don’t know what to buy as the shop also sells ready-prepared cheeseboards – ideal. Find out more at thecourtyarddairy.co.uk
Neal’s Yard Dairy
Working with over 70 cheesemakers across the UK and Ireland, Neal’s Yard Dairy is a must for all cheese enthusiasts. Expect to find a large selection of British classics such as Stinking Bishop, as well as in-house matured varieties and specialist cheeses from the Neal’s Yard Creamery in Dorstone. Visit them in London’s Bermondsey, Borough Market and Covent Garden, or online at nealsyarddairy.co.uk
You may recognise this quaint little shop in Muswell Hill from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries or Paul Hollywood’s Bread. No, it’s not a TV set – it’s a fully-functioning family-run business and you’ll fall in love with their selection of cheeses the minute you step through the door. See cheesesonline.co.uk for more information.
Paxton & Whitfield
Established in 1797, this revered London cheesemonger not only boasts counters piled high with some of the best British artisan cheeses, but also helpful, experienced staff brimming with advice. You can find these dairy-filled havens in London’s Jermyn Street and Cale Street, as well as Stratford-upon-Avon and Bath. If you can’t get to the shops themselves, you can also order directly from their website, paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk
Lewes in East Sussex is a mecca for independent shops and Cheese Please doesn’t disappoint. The shelves and counters are filled with local, artisan produce, but be sure to get there early – their freshly made cheese sandwiches are very popular and fly off the counter at speed! cheesepleaselewes.co.uk
If you’re looking for a specialist cheese shop in the garden of England, head to Whitstable. Stop by on a Friday or Saturday night and you’ll find a ’cheese bar’ in full swing – a night of cheese tasting accompanied by plenty of Kentish wine, beer and cider. Once bought, cheese is beautifully packed in a box and pulled tight with a ribbon – who said a seaside souvenir needs to be a stick of rock? thecheesebox.co.uk