In our spotlight series on artisan cheese suppliers, today we take a peek behind the scenes at Neal’s Yard Dairy.
Stacey Hedges is passionate about artisan cheese suppliers. Cheese lovers and restaurateurs around the world like to buy from experts who really know and understand their cheeses, can advise on storing and cooking and deliver the cheese at the perfect ripeness to eat.
Neal’s Yard Dairy has been a formative part of Hampshire Cheese’s story since the beginning in 2005: “I started working with Randolph, Sarah and the team as I was developing Tunworth – perfecting the recipe, balancing the salt, exploring how I could improve the rind”, said Stacey. She continued, “They were so encouraging and collaborative – and continue to be to this day. Their drive for collaboration across the industry has delivered huge improvements to the overall quality of British cheeses that we have today.”
Since its foundation in 1979 in Covent Garden, Neal’s Yard Dairy has established a deserved reputation for selling the very best British and Irish cheeses.
At the core of their ethos is education. A commitment to learning from the cheesemakers themselves, and educating cheesemongers and their own retail staff on the complexities of storing and serving cheeses. By continually tasting the cheese and listening to and understanding the cheesemakers, the team can understand the flavour and texture of each cheese and the individual challenges cheesemongers face in storing the different cheeses and insights into counter style and service.
The team currently works with about 40 cheesemakers across the UK, some of whom are just beginning their cheese making journey, and some who they have been supporting for over 30 years. There is real variety with the style of cheeses they work with and with their make process, with many reviving traditional British cheese recipes while others emulate continental cheeses. For all producers the key focus is quality!
Neal’s Yard Dairy believes that a cheesemaker’s skilful interventions will result in a quality and character unmatched by more industrialised forms of production. Tunworth and Winslade are a case in point – artisan cheese crafted by hand using traditional methods to deliver award winning cheeses year in year out.
This deep understanding of the art and science of cheesemaking and selling is reflected across all facets of the business – from the displays in the three London and online shops, to their successful UK and international wholesale trade to 18 countries around the world. From its maturing facility in Bermondsey, the Neal’s Yard Dairy team focus on ensuring the right cheese finds its home at the prefect readiness – whether bought via a food hall, enjoyed in a restaurant or a family meal.
Neal’s Yard Dairy believes that the success of their work is completely reliant on the expertise and enthusiasm of all the staff in their maturing arches, offices and shops. Nothing they do would be possible without this fantastic team.
For gifts, subscriptions or to order online, see Neal’s Yard Dairy. You can find Tunworth in their online and retail shops and can order Winslade online.