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Sunset in the Dales, Craven Copyright Stephen Garnett

Taste the Landscape

Monday 3 October, 2022, by Katy Foxford

Dales and moorland, pastures and meadows, waterfalls and becks, field barns and miles of drystone walls – with a varied landscape like this, the Yorkshire Dales provide the perfect partnership for food and drink producers – producers who care about the special qualities of the area.

It is so much more than just produce – it is food and drink which helps us to establish a meaningful relationship with the land. Here people and culture are inspiring artisans to create a diverse range of local goods.

The art of cheese

Cheese is no exception. The generational, traditional farming methods which have shaped the Dales are the key element which gives the cheeses their unique flavour.

We are lucky, and proud, to have some great businesses in the Dales who adopt the same ethos of local stewardship and champion the best of independent cheese-makers, micro-dairies and farmhouse cheeses.

These artisan businesses capture the identity and sense of place of the Dales. Most of the cheeses produced are unpasteurised, and each small batch can have subtle differences because of its local, hand-crafted nature; flavours you can’t get anywhere else, and it’s not usually something you can just pick up at a supermarket! This, along with revived ancient heritage and traditions of cheese making, combined with modern techniques and innovation, make it so special. You can find out more about the story behind the great tradition of cheese in the Dales in our ‘Voices of the Dales’ Cheese Past and Cheese Present podcasts.

For those wanting a chance to meet some of the makers, or develop their own culinary skills, check out our ideas for food, drink and cookery experiences, such as waxing your own cheese and cheese making courses.

Cheese piled high at the Courtyard Dairy, one of the businesses participating in the Cheese Festival 2021. Credit – Tom Martin.

Local food and drink is becoming increasingly available through farm shops, delicatessens, farmers’ markets and food festivals. Restaurants, hotels, B&Bs, tearooms and tourist attractions are also increasingly using locally-sourced ingredients in their menus, and why would you go elsewhere when you have access to something so individual on your doorstep. Buying local not only allows you to try a unique product but means you are contributing to the local economy and helping to conserve this precious living, working landscape.

Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival, 7 to 10 October 2022

The thriving food and drink community and the rich farming heritage in the Dales is showcased through the Cheese Festival, Celebrating Local Produce from 7 to 10 October. Prepare for a jam-packed long weekend of events hosted by businesses across the National Park, including homemade ice-cream and Yorkshire pudding wraps and pizzas – (yes you read that right!) As well as enjoying the scenery and learning more about the area, you really will feast on some great tasting produce.

Our map features local food and drink producers, information on where to buy and where to enjoy local food and drink in and around the Dales, and is designed to help visitors explore the area and discover the wide range of exciting local food and drink experiences on offer.

The Cheese Festival offers a platform for the local community to raise the profile of the fantastic range of locally made produce, share its stories and celebrate its provenance.

Picture of Katy Foxford

Katy Foxford

Katy is the Tourism Support Officer with the YDNPA


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