Top names in the cheese world will head up a packed stage programme over at the Cheese & Dairy section of the Great Yorkshire Show.

The Show has lined up a cast of stellar cheese experts to help bring the subject to life, covering everything from what it takes to judge Britain’s best cheese and dairy entries to perfect pairings: think cheese and chocolate!

Entries are open for the section which was set up in 2002 to help boost the cheese and dairy industry in the aftermath of the foot and mouth disease outbreak.

Businesses can enter via the Great Yorkshire Show website, with entries closing on Monday 27th May.

The quality and calibre of the judges who come from all over the UK is exceptional and is made up industry experts from producers to commercial buyers.

The cheese experts will take to the revitalised stage as follows:

Tuesday: international cheese judge Nigel Barden who has over 30 years of foodie knowledge, experience and tastings under his belt. He has combined a long career at BBC Radio with numerous TV appearances, hosting at live consumer events and food festivals, judging awards and also as a restaurant critic and sought-after food and drink industry compère.

Wednesday: cheese expert Sam Wilkin who is the producer of The Cellarman Podcast and The Westcombe Project as well as producing a series of video shorts going behind the scenes of Fen Farm Dairy. Sam is a judge at The World Cheese Awards and has made multiple appearances on BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme and Food FM A Slice of Cheese

Thursday: The Cheese Explorer Emma Young is a Cheese Consultant & Author from London. Her first book "The Cheese Wheel" was released just last year. She has been an International cheese judge for the past 12 years, she is a Garde et Juré for the International Guilde des Fromagers and she teaches cheese courses for MonS Formation, the Guild of Fine Food and the Academy of Cheese in the UK.

Friday: Homage2Fromage’s Nick Copland will be the host for a day of events, activities and interviews - plus a rather fabulous cheese quiz with some tasty prizes! Nick is a cheese enthusiast who started with his friend Vickie Rogerson 12 years ago. They've now run hundreds of events in dozens of locations, celebrating cheese in all its many forms.

Chief Steward Caroline Bell said: “We are absolutely delighted to have such a terrific line up of stage hosts who will provide an entertaining and informative programme for the public about the world of cheese and dairy. This will really complement the competitions taking place and we are delighted to once again host the highest calibre of judges in the industry along with entries from some of the UK’s best producers.”

This year the Cheese and Dairy Show is supported by Wensleydale Creamery. Sandra Bell, Marketing Manager said: “As a proud Yorkshire dairy business, Wensleydale Creamery are delighted to be supporting the Cheese and Dairy Show again this year at the Great Yorkshire Show. It’s a fantastic showcase of produce from across the UK and beyond, and it’s great to see this area of the show continue to go from strength to strength.”

Other highlights of the Cheese and Dairy Show include the People’s Choice classes on Wednesday afternoon when the first 50 members of the audience to volunteer are invited to sample two types of cheese and an icecream entry to pick the winners, sticking strictly to the proper judging criteria, with the winners announced on Thursday. The event begins at 1pm.

Thursday sees the renowned Cheese Auction in aid of charity, with this year’s proceeds going to RABI, the charity at the heart of farming, providing expert mental health and wellbeing support, as well as financial, emotional and practical help. Last year’s auction raised more than £5,000 for Herriot Hospice Homecare.

Charles Mills, show director, said: “Showcasing the best cheese and dairy products from the UK and beyond is one of the best ways to demonstrate the importance of farming to how and what we choose to eat. Visitors will be able to see some of the best dairy animals in the showing rings and then be amazed at the wealth of the range of the end products.”

There will be two memorial trophies once again to mark the massive contribution made to the show by two significant figures in the world of cheese and dairy, David Hartley and Judy Bell. David from Wensleydale Creamery, who passed away in 2020 was influential in the Cheese and Dairy Show being established at the Great Yorkshire Show. Judy Bell MBE was Chief Steward for many years and a passionate supporter of the show and the industry. Her position as Chief Steward was filled by her daughter, Caroline, following her death in 2022.

Judy Bell set up Shepherds Purse Cheeses which will this year celebrate 35 years, a milestone which will be marked at this year’s Show. Caroline said: “Mum launched Shepherds Purse at the Great Yorkshire Show in 1989 so we have always considered the show our anniversary and this year is our 35th. We have been at every show since, except for when the show couldn’t be held, and it is amazing to see how Shepherds Purse has developed. Nobody knew about sheep’s milk cheese when we began and now we are the second generation and still flying the flag for Yorkshire cheese and dairy.”

Tickets for the 165th Show – from Tuesday 9 July to Friday 12 July - are on sale now and will be in advance only, as visitor numbers are capped at 35,000 a day.
Last year’s Show sold out a week before.

Tickets are: Adults £35, Children £13 and Families £86, please go online