Everyone seems to be a foodie these days. Even when chatting amongst my friends we often find ourselves comparing our favourite farmers markets, reviewing the newest gastropub and arguing over our favourite regional produce. Wow, reading that back I now feel rather old at the grand old age of 24!! But there has been a definite shift in conversation topics around the dinner table as people take more notice of what is on their plates, where it has come from and what has been done to it. So we were delighted to discover Shepherds Purse Cheeses, which started out as an experiment by Judy Bell - an avid cheese fan - in her little farmhouse kitchen in North Yorkshire. Since those early beginnings, the quality and taste of her traditional, handmade Yorkshire cheeses have won international recognition and dozens of coveted awards. Today, it is still a family run business and the traditional handmade cheeses are prized all over the world.
Shepherds Purse pride themselves on the fact that all their cheeses are hand made, with no mechanical stirrers or cutters and using locally sourced cow’s, ewe’s or water buffalo milk. Yorkshire Blue was the first blue cheese and first cow’s milk cheese Shepherds Purse produced and is now their best-seller. Like all their cheeses it is traditionally handmade at the Bell family dairy in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, using 100 % Yorkshire cows' milk. I usually avoid the blue cheeses on the board, something about the heavy, pungent scents that so many have means I struggle with even contemplating eating them! In contrast Yorkshire Blue is a mild, creamy, blue veined cheese with a unique buttery/sweet flavour that even I couldn’t get enough of.
Yorkshire Blue has just been voted Consumer's Choice by visitors to the Great Yorkshire Show and last year was awarded gold at the 2010 World Cheese Awards and Bronze at the British Cheese awards.
Shepherds Purse cheeses are available to buy through their website or at selected delis and supermarkets nationwide (to find your nearest stockist use the store locator on their website).