Neal's Yard DairyLondon | United Kingdom

  • added: May 14 2010
  • author: foodsketches
  • comments:
Editor's choiceHidden jewel
Neal’s Yard is buying cheese from over 70 cheesemakers across Britain & Ireland. They have two shops now in London; and they even have four own maturing rooms for soft cheeses and one storage room for hard cheeses.

The cheese lovers of London will have heard of Neal's Yard Dairy, if not already visited their stores. Neal’s Yard is buying cheese from over 70 cheesemakers across Britain & Ireland. The company was established back in 1979 on July 4th by Randolph Hodgson, a young food science major graduate. It was Randolph’s approach of selling cheese that continues to be prevalent at Neal’s Yard up until now. Randolph started visiting various cheesemakers throughout the country to be able to better understand the art of cheesemaking; to taste cheeses in the location where they were produced and then going back to these farms sharing the feedback of customers with the cheese producers. Such approach allows for imminent feedback between the consumers and producers: you better understand what consumers like; what some of the issues may be & then adjust your production as needed.

Neal’s Yard Dairy has two shops now in London; and they even have four own maturing rooms for soft cheeses and one storage room for hard cheeses. In 1986, a sister company – Neal’s Yard Creamery –was added the success story. It supplies Neal’s Yard shops with fresh yogurts and cheese produced at Ide Hill, a village in the Sevenoaks district of Kent.

Neal’s Yard specialty cheeses include Colston Bassett Stilton; a rare “breed” of Stilton made out of unpasteurised milk, called Stichelton; Montgomerys cheddar; St Tola – soft goats cheese from Ireland and many more interesting varieties. Our absolute favourite is Colston Bassett Stilton. This cheese cannot be compared to any industrial Stilton – it has a much smoother texture; great balance between creaminess of the cheese & its spiciness; the aroma is absolutely mind blowing! This has become almost our favourite blue cheese competing with authentic gorgonzola dolce ...

A visit to Neal’s Yard stores will prove a special treat with knowledgeable, dedicated and friendly staff. You will be offered to taste any cheese before you decide on a purchase. On the weekend, beware that there may be queues; but it never gets too bad. The staff is usually very efficient and serves few people at the same time which significantly decreases the average waiting period. Stores are also very tastefully done, and what is important, you get to see all of the cheeses not only on display, but in significant amounts on the shelves around the store. If you are a cheese connoisseur you will indulge in all the wonderful aromas.

What is also interesting is that Neal’s Yard offers a series of tutored cheese tastings. The tastings host about 24 people and this allows a good degree of interaction during the session. These tastings take place on the back side of the Neal’s Yard store in Borough Market. They are hosted in a spacious room and people sit down around a big table. This creates a wonderful atmosphere of gastronomical discovery; and as we know, food is an amazing catalyst in socialising. Here are some of the offered themes: beer and cheese; mountain cheeses; goat and sheep; summer cheeses. You can enrol in these tastings either by contacting Neal’s Yard by phone or using a simple step by step online registration process.

Another useful tip for those of you who live abroad or move around the globe, Neal’s Yard actually ships and works with distributors. Check out their special directory on the web page indicating the contact details of their distributors around the world. This is is a life saver! Be sure to check with other stores and various producers such information. What we discovered was that most of the time stores and producers can suggest you where to get their products abroad, however, they do not openly display this information on the websites at times.

And if some of your friends are also adamant cheese lovers, then perhaps you can surprise them with a gift voucher from Neal’s Yard or subscribe them to annual cheese selections. These selections can come every month, every 2 months, quarterly or just once. Not to mention, that you may be interested yourself in such subscriptions.

Hopefully you will have fun in discovering Neal's Yard. Don’t forget to share your impressions with FoodSketches!


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