Most of what we do at Neal’s Yard Dairy involves a sharp focus on cheese— on finding, selecting, maturing and selling the British and Irish cheeses we like best. Our company objective is to improve British and Irish cheese. We believe our actions have the potential to have a wide ranging positive influence over the type and quality of cheese made here, people’s desire to produce, sell and buy cheese.
Neal’s Yard is a little alleyway in Covent Garden, round the corner from our Short’s Gardens shop, and the location of the first and original Neal’s Yard Dairy. Whilst we all share the origin of being part of the group of businesses founded by Nicholas Saunders in Neal’s Yard, we are no longer affiliated with any of the other companies that bear the “Neal’s Yard” name. You can read more about the history of Neal’s Yard here.
Ordering & Delivery
Yes, we do have delivery charges, depending on your location in the UK. For most UK postcodes:
- Standard delivery costs £8.
- Standard delivery is free for orders over £39.50.
Please note that we are currently unable to deliver to Northern Ireland.
More information on our delivery charges and service levels can be found here
Whilst we don’t have a minimum order value, we do ask that you bear in mind the amount of packaging generated to send items either via courier or to our shops for collection. Whilst it's great to order little and often, we do like to operate in a sustainable way and we’d like your help to achieve this.
We offer delivery for the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, but are unable to offer delivery for other locations internationally.
We do export our cheese around the world, and you can find information about our international stockists here. If you would like any further information, please give us a ring on +44 (0)20 7500 7520 or get in touch via our contact form. Be sure to let us know the specifics of where you would like to buy our cheese from, and we will be happy to pass on details of the nearest stockists to you.
You can select your preferred delivery day at the checkout stage.
As we use third party couriers, we unfortunately cannot guarantee the arrival day of your order, but we assure you that we will do our best to ensure that it arrives as close to your preferred delivery day as possible.
You can order online up to one year in advance and choose the day you would prefer your cheese to arrive. We typically cut cheese to order on the day of dispatch to ensure that it is as fresh as possible when it arrives with you.
If you are ordering cheese for delivery for a special occasion, be sure to select a preferred delivery date two delivery days in advance of your event in case of courier delays. For example, if your event is over the weekend, it is best to choose Wednesday as the preferred delivery day.
f you need to amend your order, please call our ecommerce team as soon as possible on +44 (0)20 7500 7520. Typically, we are happy to help you to amend your order up to 2 working days prior to dispatch. We may need to extend this during peak times. We are unable to amend orders that are already in transit.
No, you do not need to be at home for your delivery. Our courier partners will send you a notification via email and text once your parcel has been collected for delivery. This will contain your tracking number with which you can update any delivery information, if you are not able to be home for delivery. If you have any problems with tracking you order, or if there is a message or status update that you do not fully understand, do not hesitate to contact us.
We send our online orders in our brown cardboard gift boxes, or larger cardboard boxes for especially big orders. When the weather is warm, we will use WoolCoolliners, Opus Bio biodegradable cushions and ice packs, reducing this packaging to Sizzlepak and Opus Bio biodegradable cushions in colder weather months. For more information on our packaging, please see our delivery information page.
It may sound obvious, but the most important thing to do is to unpack the box. If all is well, pop your cheese in the fridge until a few hours before you are ready to serve it. If there are any issues, please contact us as soon as possible.
Cheese Storage & Serving
It can sometimes be hard to know how much cheese to buy. As a general rule of thumb, we would recommend between 100 and 150 grams per person for after dinner, and a bit more if cheese is the focus of the meal. Larger pieces keep better than smaller cuts, so it is worth keeping this in mind if you are planning to eat your cheese across a few days. If you are planning an event and would like further advice, please give us call and we would be happy to help you.
To help visualise weights, a good tip is to consider that a regular supermarket pat of butter weighs between 200 and 250 grams.
There is an array of factors which affect how long cheese will last, and so it is difficult to give a prescriptive answer. We do not label cheeses in our shops with best before dates as, for the most part, we expect these cheeses to be eaten within the next week or two. If you need your cheese to last, buy larger pieces as these last for longer. Buy it as close to when you want to serve it as possible (although if you are having your cheese delivered, also remember to allow for a few days' leeway in case of delivery disruption).
If you have a specific shelf-life concern, you are always welcome to contact us, and we will advise as best we can.
We sell our cheese wrapped in waxed cheese paper, which achieves the best possible balance between maintaining humidity around the cheese and allowing it to breathe. Cut pieces of cheese should be kept in the refrigerator to slow the growth of mould on their cut surfaces. If you wrap your cheese in cling film or foil, it can cause the cheese to sweat which will negatively affect the flavour. The best option is to keep the cheese wrapped in its waxed paper within a box in the fridge. The container will help to prevent the cheese from drying out and prevent the cheese from absorbing flavours. We are happy to provide some extra cheese paper, and you can add some to your basket by clicking here.
If you are buying whole cheeses, such as Stilton, they may be too large to fit in your fridge. In winter, these conditions can be improvised by keeping your cheese in a cellar or cool room. Be aware that when stored out of the refrigerator, your cheese will develop more quickly. This can make for more rounded flavours; however, you will need to check it regularly to see how it is behaving. If you are keeping it too warm, the cheese will change.
It is important not to serve your cheese when it’s too cold as cold cheese can taste bland and inert. You should bring cheese out of the fridge a couple of hours before you plan to serve it. You should keep your cheese wrapped whilst it is coming up to room temperature, to avoid any risk of it drying out
If it is an edible rind, then yes! Rinds can vary in flavour, but provided you enjoy the taste, eat as much as you like. Some cheeses have rinds that are not edible, such as cloth bound cheese, so you should not attempt to eat these. If you are unsure if the rind is edible, get in contact with us and we would be more than happy to advise.
Yes, we do sell cheese that use vegetarian coagulants as an alternative to animal rennet.
Rennet, is used to make cheese. It transforms liquid milk into solid curd, which is the first step in cheesemaking. Animal rennet typically comes from the same species of animal as the milk being used for cheese. Calf-rennet is used to produce cow’s milk cheese and so forth.
A few of the cheeses we sell use lard as a rind processing agent in the cloth binding, which is a pork product. These cheeses have a note that says “Clothbound with lard” in the description.
Vegetarian substitutes have been developed in laboratories as an alternative to animal rennet. Where a cheese uses ‘vegetarian coagulant’ this information is labelled on our product pages.
A notable alternative to synthetic coagulants is the use of plant extracts which are also capable of setting milk. Figs, papaya, thistles and cardoons contain enzymes similar, although not identical to, those in animal rennet. Interestingly, the different enzymes lead to different flavours and textures in the cheese. Many Spanish and Portuguese cheesemakers use plant based coagulants.
If you need any further information, regarding specific dietary requirements, please get in touch with us here.
Neal’s Yard Dairy does not offer medical advice on cheese and pregnancy, and we would always recommend seeking advice from your GP. We can, however, share with our customers what we know about cheese.
Women can still eat cheese during pregnancy, but should avoid soft, semi-soft and blue cheeses, which may contain Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium causing Listeriosis. Listeria does not occur naturally in milk or cheese; instead, its presence indicates contamination of either the raw material or environment. We take all due care to ensure our cheeses meet uncompromising safety standards to minimise this risk. For further information please see our cheese and pregnancy page.
Raw milk has not been heat treated or pasteurised. It has all its natural bacteriological and enzymatic characteristics. Raw milk is not the same thing as unpasteurised milk – while all raw milk is unpasteurised, not all unpasteurised milk is raw. Pasteurised milk has been heated to a particular temperature, for a specific time, in order to kill off certain bacteria. While pasteurisation ensures the destruction of many of the pathogens that may or may not be present, it also strips the milk of beneficial and innocuous natural flora.
All of Britain’s territorial cheeses were once raw milk cheeses. Our suppliers often use milk from their own farms, thereby ensuring that they have total control over the quality of their raw materials.
The height of what a cheese can achieve is dictated by the quality of the milk. When cheese is made by farmers, they have the opportunity to start their cheesemaking decisions in the pastures and their breeding programmes, and they see the consequences directly in the vat.
Not all unprocessed milk is good milk. Good quality raw milk is difficult to produce and very difficult to produce consistently. Using a highly variable raw material can make it very difficult for the cheesemaker to manage the cheese outcomes. Unless a cheesemaker can achieve some level of consistency, it is very difficult to be financially viable.
Provided it has been properly pasteurised, there are fewer worries about inherent pathogenic bacteria or viruses in pasteurised milk. Pasteurised milk is frequently seen as the norm in terms of food safety and production regulations. Therefore it is easier for the cheesemaker to work within the regulatory framework they find themselves in, rather than taking risks or challenging the status quo.
Lastly, not every aspiring cheesemaker can also become a farmer, or find a good source of raw milk local to them.
The short answer is, it doesn’t. Pasteurisation, refrigeration and homogenisation are all methods of standardising milk. Milk that has been processed in this way is not intended to have unique characteristics. Heavily processed milk does not make interesting cheese. That is why Neal’s Yard Dairy seeks out cheese made from raw, single farm milk. We do sell some cheeses which happen to be organic, but it is not the only thing we look for when deciding to work with a cheesemaker.
Cheese which is intentionally blue, such as Stilton, have added blue mould spores within the body of the cheese. These moulds help to break the cheese down, and in the process they give it a stronger flavour and distinctive appearance. Sometimes other cheeses unintentionally develop blue mould. Air can penetrate the cheese through the rind of clothbound and natural-rind cheese. If the cheese is bumped during turning or has natural crevasses within it, moulds can sometimes grow inside them. Whether or not this is advantageous depends on the nature of the mould growth. Brown or grey moulds, or a ‘bruised’ appearance within the paste, are unattractive and not good to eat; on the other hand a streak of bright blue through a Cheddar or Cheshire adds complexity and was once a prized addition to the cheese (known as ‘Vinny Cheddar’ or ‘Green Fade’).
There is no danger in eating blue which has developed in this way, just as there is no danger in eating blue cheese. We encourage our customers to taste the cheese and see what appeals to them, but if you’re in any doubt, please send us a picture — if something has slipped through the net that is not up to standard, we’ll be happy to replace it for you.
Cheese mites are microorganisms that exist everywhere, but they especially love the damp, cool atmosphere found in cheese maturing facilities. Cheese mites are so tiny that the naked eye can’t usually spot them. Their presence is detected by very fine brownish dust on the surface of a wheel of cheese, and are harmless. Mites are present in all different types of dry goods, like grains and flours, without causing direct harm to humans. Cheese mites tend to be noticeably present on the outside of hard, long maturing cheeses, such as Cheddar. Part of our job as cheese maturers is to identify when cheese mites are present in excessive quantities and brush them off. This can be done without affecting the flavour of the cheese inside.