Cheesemonger, The Courtyard Dairy
Andy Swinscoe originates from Cumbria, and at an early age embarked on a quest to find the finest cheeses available. Whilst working in restaurants in England and France, and in particular the Edinburgh Balmoral Hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, he further developed his passion for cheese.
After earning a first-class honours degree from Sheffield Hallam University in ‘Culinary Arts and Hospitality’, he worked briefly for Paxton and Whitfield – Britain’s oldest cheesemonger – hand-delivering cheese, even to Buckingham Palace itself. There followed an award in ‘Cheese Maturing’ from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, which enabled Andy to indulge his passion for cheese and complete an apprenticeship in the intricate art of affinage (ageing cheese) in France with Hervé Mons (widely regarded as the best affineur in the world). It is here Andy refined his expertise, learnt how to age cheese and spent much time visiting and making cheese, from Salers du Tradition, to Comté and Ste Maure.
Returning to England to work for Bath’s Fine Cheese Company, he took up responsibility for cheese quality and selecting cheese direct from farms, a job he found exciting: “One moment I was off selecting Gruyère in Switzerland, the next I was helping to open a cheese shop in Qatar!” Kathy Swinscoe is equally passionate about fine food, having worked for many years in fine dining in Edinburgh, coupled with regular visits to cheese makers with Andy. Later, she moved to Bath to work for wine importer William Baber.
Throughout their careers Andy and Kathy have continued to visit and meet with many of the finest cheese-makers, helping to make cheeses such as the buttery and lactic Kirkham’s Lancashire and the creamy Vacherin Mont d’Or. Some of their stories and tales can be found here.
Andy and Kathy decided in 2012 to open their own specialist cheese shop and refiner: The Courtyard Dairy.