Neal’s Yard Dairy
17 Shorts Gardens Covent Garden London WC2H 9AT
From the enticing window display, piled high with huge round cheeses, there’s no mistaking what this blue backstreet shop is all about – the very best in cheese, mostly from Britain and Ireland. Some they make at their Hereford creamery, others they buy from artisanal makers around the British Isles – look out for delights like the Cashel Blue from Ireland or the Keen’s Cheddar from Somerset – and a tiny handful are imported from France and Italy. The knowledgeable staff are generous with free samples as well as advice, making it all but impossible to leave empty-handed. Neophytes can take advantage of the ‘tutored cheese tastings’, held at their Borough Market warehouse; self-taught cheese enthusiasts may prefer just to buy some – or lots – and eat it. A little confusingly, the shop moved from its original premises in Neal’s Yard twenty years ago but kept the name, but it’s so close to its original home that it makes little difference.