Neal’s Yard Dairy | Affineur of the Year 2023 | Competitor

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Who are we?

Neal’s Yard Dairy are entering three teams from their Borough Market, Covent Garden & Islington shops.

Will Chapman is the Assistant Manager at the Covent Garden shop and will be looking after the Cheddar. Tessa Goodman from the Islington shop is leading the affinage of the Stilton, whilst the Borough Market shop have chosen to care for the Baron Bigod.

Will Chapman in the Covent Garden shop with his Quicke’s Cheddar

Which cheeses have you chosen to mature?

Quicke’s Cheddar – Covent Garden

Cropwell Bishop Blue Stilton – Islington

Fen Farm Baron Bigod – Borough Market

Why did you enter the competition?

Tessa: This space as a maturation facility is really fresh for us – it’s very much a retail site, cheese doesn’t hang around for long. It used to be an art gallery – it was not built for housing cheese. This will be an education into how we can harness the microclimates and utilise them for our own benefit in the future.  

What is your relationship with affinage to date?

Will: In the shops we take care of soft cheese for a few weeks and hard cheese a little longer. In the past, I have worked a few weeks in our cheese-shift department, where I’ve had some experience washing cheeses. But my relationship with cheese has most been selling it, rather than affinage.

Tessa: Maturing a Quicke’s cheddar in Borough Market!  This shop is more familiar to us as it used to be our primary maturation facility.  The team have worked in various departments and shops in the business so if we put our heads together I think we can decide the best pathway for the Stilton.    

How are you approaching the maturation and why have you chosen this approach?

Will: Our approach is going to be minimal intervention. We store hard cheese in the Covent Garden shop, usually for no longer than a few weeks. We are going to treat the Quicke’s Cheddar the same way we treat all the other cheeses in the shop: turning once a week and keeping track of the humidity and temperature.

Tessa: We will be gently maturing it and using the shop’s climate, humidity, and location to the best of our ability. We will be using sight, touch and moisture loss as the main indicators for choosing the maturation pathway, Ironing will affect the final appearance, and the complete surprise of the final taste is one of the best parts! 

What are your expectations for the matured cheeses?

Will: Not exactly sure what to expect, but I’m excited to find out!

Tessa: A great quality, tasty Stilton with an Islington edge.  

Further information:

https://www.nealsyarddairy.co.uk

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