Which traditional British markets in London offer the best artisanal cheese selections?

When it comes to indulging in the rich flavors of artisanal cheese, there’s no better place than London. The city offers a variety of traditional markets where you can find the best cheese selections. Whether you're a cheese connoisseur or just someone looking to try something new, London’s markets have something to offer for everyone. This article will guide you through some of the most esteemed markets and cheese shops in London, helping you discover where to find the finest British cheeses and more.

Neal's Yard Dairy: A Cheese Lover's Paradise

Neal's Yard Dairy is often the first name that comes to mind when discussing cheese shops in London. Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Covent Garden, Neal's Yard Dairy is renowned for its exceptional selection of British cheese. The shop partners with around 40 cheesemakers from across the UK and Ireland to bring you the very best in artisan cheese.

Upon entering Neal's Yard Dairy, you are greeted by an overwhelming array of cheeses, from creamy Bries to crumbly Cheddars. The staff is knowledgeable and passionate about cheese, ready to guide you through your selections. Neal's Yard Dairy is not just a shop; it's an experience. You can taste before you buy, allowing you to compare different varieties and find the one that suits your taste buds the best.

The cheese here is made from raw milk, which means it retains more of its natural flavors. This shop is perfect for those who appreciate traditional cheese-making methods and wish to taste authentic, high-quality cheese. From Stilton to Red Leicester, the selection is vast and varied.

Neal's Yard Dairy also offers a cheese board service, perfect for parties or a cozy night in with a glass of wine. Their website provides detailed information about each cheese, including its origin, flavor profile, and best pairings, making it easier for you to make an informed choice.

Borough Market: A Treasure Trove for Cheese Enthusiasts

If there's one market that stands out for its diversity and quality of food, it has to be Borough Market. Located near London Bridge, this market is a haven for food lovers, offering a plethora of options, including some of the best artisanal cheeses you can find in London.

Borough Market is home to several renowned cheese vendors, such as Kappacasein Dairy and The French Comté. Kappacasein Dairy, known for its raclette and grilled cheese sandwiches, uses raw milk to produce its cheeses, ensuring a rich and authentic flavor. The French Comté, on the other hand, specializes in cheeses from the Franche-Comté region of France but also offers a selection of British cheeses.

Walking through Borough Market, you'll find stalls brimming with fine cheeses, from soft blues to aged cheddars. The market allows you to sample before purchasing, making it easier for you to compare and find the best cheese to suit your palate.

In addition to cheese, Borough Market also offers an array of wines and champagnes, making it a perfect spot to pick up everything you need for a delightful cheese and wine evening. The market’s vibrant atmosphere, coupled with the high quality of its products, makes it a must-visit for both locals and tourists.

Artisan Cheese Shops in Covent Garden

Covent Garden is not just a hub for entertainment and shopping; it's also home to some of the finest artisan cheese shops in London. Neal's Yard Dairy is one such shop, but there are others worth mentioning.

Paxton & Whitfield, located on Jermyn Street but easily accessible from Covent Garden, is one of London’s oldest cheese shops. Established in 1797, Paxton & Whitfield has a rich history and a reputation for selling some of the highest quality cheeses. Their selection includes everything from creamy Bries to tangy blues, with a strong emphasis on traditional British cheeses.

Another notable mention is Champagne + Fromage, a cozy shop that offers a delightful combination of champagne and artisan cheeses. Located in Covent Garden, this shop provides a unique experience where you can enjoy a glass of champagne with your cheese selection. They offer a variety of cheeses, ranging from soft and creamy to hard and aged, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

Both of these shops offer online services, allowing you to explore their selections and place orders through their websites. Whether you are looking for a specific type of cheese or want to gift a cheese board, these shops have you covered.

Leadenhall Market: A Historical Hub for Fine Cheeses

Leadenhall Market is not only one of London's oldest markets but also one of the most picturesque. Located in the heart of the City of London, it offers an array of shops, including some fantastic cheese vendors.

One standout is Cheese at Leadenhall, a shop and wine bar that offers a comprehensive selection of artisan cheeses, both British and international. The knowledgeable staff can guide you through their selection, helping you find the perfect cheese to match your taste. Their cheese boards are a popular choice, perfect for pairing with a glass of wine from their extensive collection.

Leadenhall Market's historical charm and its array of quality food shops make it a delightful visit for anyone looking to experience the best of what London has to offer. The market's central location, coupled with its rich history, attracts both locals and tourists alike.

Pistachio & Pickle: A Hidden Gem in Islington

For those willing to venture a bit off the beaten path, Pistachio & Pickle in Islington is a hidden gem worth discovering. This small but well-curated shop offers an impressive selection of artisan cheeses, with a strong focus on British varieties. The shop sources its cheese directly from small producers, ensuring high quality and unique flavors.

Pistachio & Pickle also offers a variety of accompaniments, such as pickles, chutneys, and crackers, making it a one-stop-shop for all your cheese needs. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are always on hand to offer advice and recommendations, ensuring you leave with the perfect cheese for any occasion.

In addition to their shop, Pistachio & Pickle also runs a cheese bar where you can enjoy a selection of cheeses paired with wines and other beverages. This makes it a great spot for a casual evening out or a special treat.

London is a city brimming with culinary delights, and its markets and cheese shops are no exception. From the iconic Neal's Yard Dairy in Covent Garden to the bustling Borough Market and the historical charm of Leadenhall Market, each offers a unique experience and a chance to discover some of the best artisanal cheeses available.

Whether you are a seasoned cheese lover or a curious newcomer, these markets and shops provide an opportunity to explore, taste, and enjoy a variety of cheeses that cater to all tastes. The passion and expertise found in these establishments ensure that you’ll leave with not just cheese, but a deeper appreciation for the craft and tradition behind each bite.

So next time you’re in London, make sure to visit these markets and shops to experience the rich flavors and high quality of British cheese. Whether you're looking to create the perfect cheese board, enjoy a night in with cheese and wine, or simply indulge in some fine cheese, London’s cheese shops and markets have you covered.

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