Neal’s Yard Dairy

neal’s yard dairy

November 9th 2011

Neal’s Yard Dairy opened in 1979, selling yogurt and fresh cheese in Covent Garden. I came across the shop in the early 80s and was instantly impressed by the huge wheels of cheese sitting in the window. The business itself specialises in British cheese, Randolph Hodgson (the proprietor) discovered early on, that there were hundreds of small cheese producers throughout the country, with very little outlet for their products. Like cheese crusader Major Patrick Rance before him, Randolph and Neal’s Yard Dairy have done much to champion British cheese and put it back onto a world stage.

martin tkalez, neal’s yard

The Dairy has a winning method of selling cheese – they insist that you try it! I think that, unless you dislike cheese, once you’ve tried a few cheeses, it’s impossible to leave the shop without buying some. What makes it even harder, is that fact that all their cheese is exceptional. Even when there’s a queue outside the shop at Christmas, you’ll be encouraged to taste the cheese – they’ll bring it out to you while you wait!


My favourite Neal’s Yard cheeses would have to be Montgomery Cheddar (deep, rich and nutty), Cornish Yarg (a pale, semi-hard cheese from Cornwall, wrapped in stinging nettles), Waterloo (a soft, creamy rich cheese, which beats any Brie I’ve tried, hands down) and Stichelton (a Stilton like, blue veined cheese). The Stichelton story is particularly interesting, since it’s a recreation of the type of cheese Stilton once was – a rich and creamy blue veined cheese made from unpasteurised cow’s milk. After a Listeria scare in 1989, Stilton ceased to be made of raw milk and whilst it’s still good, it’s not quite the same as it once was. Using an original, saved, Stilton culture, Randolph Hodgson and cheese maker Joe Schneider were able to recreate an old style cheese with a rich and complex flavour. Since Stilton has a Protected Designation of Origin status, Stichelton cannot be called a Stilton, so they decided to name it after the original Stilton village named in the Domesday Book – Stichiltone/Sticiltone.

It’s also worth noting, that Neal’s Yard Dairy sells two other essentials that I can’t live without, Barry’s Tea and Sourdough Bread from the St. John.

Neal’s Yard Dairy has two shops, one in Covent Garden, at 17 Shorts Gardens,
WC2H 9AT and the other, next to Borough Market, at 6 Park Street, SE1 9AB

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11 Responses to Neal’s Yard Dairy

  1. Sooo unfair – wish we had something like this here as I adore cheese! Made me chuckle as I have a very funny memory of cheese from Neal´s Yard. One New Year I was travelling with a group of about 8 friends plus a small dog to Inverness to celebrate Hogmanay on their farm. One of the group had bought a tray of cheeses from Neal´s Yard which we took turns to carry as hand luggage. One of the cheeses was Stinking Bishop. Snow closed Inverness Airport and we had a delay of something like 30+ hours with dog, cheese, two elderly ladies and being shunted between Gatiwck and an airport hotel and back again. We laugh now when we look back but it was all rather stressful and the cheese just got stinkier! We did finally get there and yes, we did eat the cheese which was amazing but I´ve never got to eat it again since 🙂

  2. Mad Dog says:

    Great story! Who would think that washing cheese with Perry would make it smell and that the cheese is called Stinking Bishop after a pear.

  3. Rick Sareen says:

    One of Randy’s partners in the beginning was David Butterworth, who created and runs which is where Su does her India yoga trips. He was the baker. The food at Basunti is pretty spectacular, much of it fish caught in the morning from the lake, most of the rest of it grown in the grounds of the retreat.

  4. I Will have to look it up next time in London 😉
    Have a nice weekend

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