It’s a long and winding road up beautiful Danby Dale in the heart of the National Park to find Botton Village and its award-winning cheeses.
Botton is part of the Camphill Community where adults with special needs and learning disabilities live and work together with co-workers in a caring and nurturing environment. Besides two farms, a bakery and craft workshop, the community has a flourishing dairy where they make six fabulous cheeses from a small herd of Ayrshires and Dairy Shorthorns with their rich, yellow, creamy milk. According to Andy Swinscoe, owner and an acclaimed cheese expert at the Courtyard Dairy in Settle, they are simply among the best in the country.
‘What’s not to like!’ enthuses Andy. ‘Made by hand, with raw milk, using traditional British breeds, on fabulously diverse pasture thanks to their biodynamic/organic nature which adds a real depth of flavour to their cheese, then matured with a natural rind, and an enterprise which supports adults with a learning disability. All those together mean if you don’t like their cheese you are going to hell!’
The head cheesemaker and the man responsible for creating these superb cheeses is Alastair Pearson. He’s a local lad who farmed at Botton until he married his German wife and went off to Kassel to learn traditional cheesemaking on a small family farm before returning some six years ago to restore cheesemaking to the community. Now with a small team of co-workers they have a stable of six outstanding unpasteurised cheeses: Dale End Cheddar, Moorland Tomme, Botton Gouda and Summer Field Alpine, and two pasteurised cheeses: a soft Brie and a Munster.
Andy Swinscoe describes Dale End Cheddar as a distinctive cheese with a tangy bite and rich, long-lasting flavour.’ The powerful Moorland Tomme is made to a French recipe but is firmer with a ‘nutty, slightly sweet flavour’. The Yorkshire Gouda will dispel all thoughts of mass-produced Gouda – a supple, full flavoured cheese while Summer Field Alpine, is a Gruyere style cheese, using only the milk from cows that have grazed on summer pastures. This year both Dale End and Summer Field won gold at the World Cheese Awards.
Botton cheeses are made in small batches so demand invariably outstrips supply but you can buy direct from a small shop in the creamery itself or from Hunters of Helmsley.
Another reliable source is through Andy Swinscoe at the Courtyard Dairy who takes 90% of Botton cheese and sells it in prime condition, maturing the Dale End Cheddar for a further 12-18 months. You can visit the shop or order online.
T: 01287 661272
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
The bakery, craft workshops, village store and coffee shop are open to visitors.
T: 01287 660871
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-12pm and 2-5pm, and Saturday morning.
Botton Village, Danby YO21 2NJ