All posts tagged cheese

Cheese Counter of the Year 2013

Cheese Counter of the Year 2013The Courtyard Dairy in Settle, Yorkshire has been named Cheese Counter of the Year 2013 at this year’s World Cheese Awards – a competition organised by The Guild of Fine Food and sponsored by Le Gruyère AOP. The specialist dairy shop, run by Andy and Kathy Swinscoe, rose to the top of the 10 finalists from 80 entries from throughout Great Britain.

Judge Patrick McGuigan explained “The Courtyard Dairy is a brilliant example of how a small shop can do great things. Andy and Kathy Swinscoe may only have opened the shop last year but it’s truly inspirational – the shop looks terrific, it is temperature controlled which means that the cheeses can be displayed in the open which is great for immediate impact.

“Andy has visited and made cheese with almost all of his suppliers and remains in constant contact with them which helps him to source the very best of each batch and also add new products as soon as they are made. Pictures of cheese producers and a cheese map of Britain are excellent additional touches that help customers to connect with regional cheeses and the people who make them. The competition this year was much fiercer than 2012. Britain’s cheesemongers are really raising their game, providing stunning products and service – they are simply miles ahead of anything supermarkets are doing”.

Opened in 2012, The Courtyard Dairy is a specialist cheese shop selling the very best cheeses from the British Isles and Europe – with a firm commitment to supporting the few remaining independent farmhouse cheesemakers.

“Andy and Kathy are completely dedicated to the art of cheesemaking – not simply as retailers but as experts through years of study, talking to and working with cheesemakers and knowing cheese production from the grass up. Andy took a scholarship in Cheese Maturing through the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, then an apprenticeship in France in Affinage (cheese maturing) on top of having a degree in Culinary Arts & Hospitality, so his expertise and dedication to cheese is based on immense knowledge about his subject,” said John Farrand, organiser of the Big Cheese Challenge held at the World Cheese Awards.

Andy also gathered valuable hands-on experience and skill; working at Borough Market in London, with Cheddar makers in Somerset, and also at Paxton & Whitfield, London which has Royal Warrants stretching back to 1850. At Paxton & Whitfield Andy had the pleasure of delivering cheese, by hand to Buckingham Palace and coincidentally, Paxton & Whitfield was last year’s winner of the Cheese Counter of the Year.

An epic road trip involved expert judges travelling around the UK to assess the cheese counters of 10 shortlisted delis, farm shops and specialist cheesemongers, looking at areas such as product range, knowledge, training and display.

The 10 finalists, who were picked from over 80 entries included:

The Courtyard Dairy, Settle, North Yorkshire (WINNER)
Paxton & Whitfield, Jermyn Street, London (RUNNER UP)
The Cheese Plate, Buntingford, Herts (awarded THIRD place)
Arcadia Deli, Belfast
Arch House Deli, Bristol
Cheddar Deli, Ealing, London
The Cheese Society, Lincoln
Delifonseca Dockside, Liverpool
Gonalston Farm Shop, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
Umami Delicatessen, Wantage, Oxfordshire

Vinopolis Bastille Day Events

absinthe vinopolisVinopolis is hosting their own Bastille Day events this year alongside the Bastille Festival celebrations at nearby Borough Market. With French cheese & wine matching, La Fée Absinthe tasting, a ‘French wine labels unravelled’ masterclass and plenty of Canard-Duchêne Champagne flowing, the Vinopolis Wine Tasting Experience will become the destination for Francophiles from 11th-14th July.

Details of the Vinopolis Bastille Day Events:

French Cheese & Wine Masterclass: 11th July
You can’t go wrong with a good French wine and a delicious slice of fromage, so a special masterclass dedicated to cheeses from across France all matched with classic French wines just needs you to sit back and enjoy six mouth-watering matches.

Exclusively for this class, each ticket includes 7 tokens to use on the wine tasting experience.
Tickets: £50 per person
Time: 7pm

La Fée Absinthe Tasting Masterclass: 12th July
Intrigued by absinthe and its colourful reputation? On 12th July a masterclass dedicated to the Green Fairy and its captivating past will see La Fée Absinthe’s George Rowley, pioneer of the absinthe revival and repeal of the ban in France is coming in to host this one-off masterclass.

In addition, guests to this masterclass will have an exclusive introduction to the new ‘all natural ingredients’ La Fée Absinthe Parisienne 68%. This recipe has been two years in the making and is only being bottled as we speak ahead of its July launch!

Guests will trial four styles of absinthe, learn the perfect pour and finish up with an absinthe cocktail.

Tickets: £45 per person
Time: 7pm

French Wine Labels Unravelled: 14th July
Ever wondered where to start when looking at the expanse of choice on the supermarket wine shelves? On 14th July it is all about demystifying the French wine label and sampling six classic French wines. Your friends and family will look at you in a different light with your new found knowledge!

Tickets: £40 per person
Time: 1pm

Guests coming on the main wine tasting experience and to the restaurants won’t miss out on the action either. Vinopolis wine experts will be in fancy dress, so look out for the revolutionaries and their free samples of great French wine and stop by the aristocracy in the Canard-Duchêne Champagne Bar for a taste of the upper classes. Then head to Cantina Vinopolis where they are serving a special French-inspired set menu all week with a glass of Canard-Duchêne Champagne for £35pp.

Camilla Dallerup cooks Steaks with Blue Cheese

The festive season is nearly upon us and, this year, ex-Strictly professional Camilla Dallerup, who’s currently starring in Panto as the Fairy Godmother, is joining forces with Red Tractor beef and lamb for a ‘Festive Fairies’ campaign to give Mums a helping hand with their Christmas preparations.

In many families, Mum plays the role of the Christmas fairy. If it weren’t for her efforts, Christmas just wouldn’t be a success. But, for many Mums, and plenty of Dads too, all they want at Christmas is their own festive fairy to help them with the cooking, shopping, wrapping and entertaining.

Camilla Dallerup says:

“Christmas was always a fantastic time in my house. There’s nothing quite like mum’s cooking at Christmas, my whole family always looked forward to it for ages before the day. Every year my mum used to say how much hard work goes into the Christmas preparations so that everyone can enjoy the day, and I only realised exactly how much time when we started having Christmas at my house! Mums always appreciate a helping hand, so in my role as Festive Fairy, I’ll be showing people how quick and easy it is to make great food for all the family, without the fuss.”

Camilla Dallerup cooks Steaks with Blue Cheese and Roasted Vegetables

The London Cheese & Wine Guide

The London Cheese & Wine Guide is the first ever guide to London’s top cheese and wine venues and reflects the increasing popularity of artisan cheese and quality wine in London.

London has an exceptional variety of cheese and wine venues to suit every occasion and budget. The London Cheese & Wine Guide features the best of these places and provides all the information you need to enjoy cheese and wine. This is the perfect book for any foodie or wine lover.
Editor of The London Cheese & Wine Guide, Lucy Gregory, says the aim of the Guide is to make cheese and wine accessible to everyone.

“We want to shake off the traditional image of snobbery that tends to accompany cheese and wine in the UK”, Lucy said. “You don’t need to spend a fortune or be an expert to appreciate good cheese and wine. You just need to know where to look and be confident in asking for specialist advice.”

Esteemed wine writer Matthew Jukes says “when it comes to cheese and wine in London, the sheer amount of choice can be daunting. This means good advice is essential. The experts behind this book have the peerless knowledge to lead you around the capital with unerring accuracy and into the arms of the finest purveyors of cheese and wine.”

The London Cheese & Wine Guide is available at and from Amazon, featured venues and all good bookstores.

Applebys Cheese

applebys cheeseIt is British Cheese Week 2012. A perfect excuse for eating cheese! We are not talking about those stretchy strings or vacuum packed plastic but artisanal and handcrafted cheese; one of the greatest pleasures and most interesting facet of the UK food scene.

Take Appleby’s of rural Shropshire. Farming and cheese making have been a way of life for the Appleby family for several generations. The cheese making has changed little since Appleby’s cheese was first made at Hawkstone Abbey Farm in 1952.

The Appleby’s work closely as a family to produce, sell and support Appleby’s Cheshire, Appleby’s Smoked and Appleby’s Double Gloucester. The traditional Cheshire Cheese recipe has been handed down through the Appleby family and now the third generation of Appleby’s, Paul, his wife Sarah and sister Clare, are fully involved in the business. Meanwhile, the second generation, Edward and Christine, still support the business. Paul has been working alongside his parents, Edward and Christine, learning the art of farming and cheesemaking. He is supported in the dairy by Garry Gray, the Head Cheesemaker and by the team on the farm. Clare has responsibility for Marketing and Business Development. Cheese is a part of the Appleby family!

The cheeses Appleby’s produce are consistent award winners. This year at the Cheshire show they were awarded two Trophies and their Cheshire and Smoked won Gold Stars at the Great Taste Awards 2012. This year they are celebrating 60 years of quality cheese making.

Various Applebys Cheese are stocked by Waitrose, Paxton & Whitfield, Neal’s Yard Dairy, the Fine Cheese Co, independent retailers and direct from Applebys Cheese. Spittoon has a comprehensive Matching Cheese and Wine Guide.