A COUPLE'S Dales business has beaten off stiff competition from all over the UK to be named ‘Cheesemonger of the Year’ at this year’s ‘Farm Shop and Deli Awards.'

The Courtyard Dairy at Settle also picked up the award for ‘Best Food Retailer in the North West’ at the NEC in Birmingham during the same prize-giving ceremony.

The business was started in 2012 by Andy Swinscoe and his wife Kathy, after working for some of the top cheesemongers and affineurs in England’s south-west, London and France.

Their ethos is to offer only the best cheeses that can be found, limiting the range to just 30 so that every one is absolutely at its prime.

Championing cheeses being made traditionally and by hand on small farms, mainly from unpasteurised milk, The Courtyard Dairy’s range of cheeses is truly special. The small-scale, quality-first ethos has seen them win many awards since opening, including Best Cheesemonger at The World Cheese Awards, and being finalists in the BBC’s prestigious Food and Farming Awards.

But this is the first time that the business has won ‘Cheesemonger of the Year’ at the Farm Shop and Deli Awards.

Kathy Swinscoe said: “We’re delighted that the judges recognised the extra effort all the staff at The Courtyard Dairy go to, so that our customers receive nothing but the best.

"Every member of staff takes the time to really get to love and know our cheeses, and this is reflected by having so many local and regular supporters."

The Courtyard Dairy’s crusade to help keep alive farm-made cheese and age it to perfection has long been Mr Swinscoe’s prime driver.

“We’ve been trying to open people’s eyes to what fantastic cheeses are still being made out there on farms, even though they are hard to find, with just a handful of cheeses made on the farm in the north of England,” he said. “ I love working with these small, traditional cheese-makers and once we’ve aged their amazing cheese onsite at The Courtyard Dairy, I think the quality of the product really shines through. I was told the judges picked up on this – the difference our on site ageing makes to our cheeses.”