A NORTH Yorkshire based cheese producer has carried off the creme de la cream of awards beating off competition from 4,000 cheese makers from around the globe.

Shepherds Purse Cheeses based in Thirsk scooped a record number of medals at the World Cheese Awards held in Bergamo in Italy. Yorkshire Blue the family run businesses top selling blue cheese picked up a gold award as did their Harrogate Blue and their special ewe’s milk blue, Mrs Bell’s Blue.

Their two other blue cheeses Northern Blue and the Italian Water Buffalo milk blue cheese, Buffalo Blue, both took home silver medals.

Founded by Judy Bell on the family farm at Newsham, near Thirsk in 1989, Shepherds Purse started out making cheese using sheep's milk, to create a quality dairy alternative for people who suffered from cows milk allergies.

Over the years they have expanded their range to also produce cow and water buffalo milk cheeses. The company insists their most important aim is to keep to traditional cheese making methods. It's now still run by the family with Judy and her two daughters Katie Matten and Caroline Bell alongside a team of 30 staff.

The World Cheese Awards is the leading competition across the globe for producers and Shepherds Purse has had major successes for the past three years.

Director Caroline Bell said: "Every award we win is a reflection of our incredible team and the quality of the artisan cheeses we produce on the family farm.

"We’re so proud to have enjoyed another great year of awards, and the results at the World Cheese Awards have provided an exceptional finish to the 2019 season. To win three Golds and two Silver medals is a tribute to the consistent world-class quality of our handmade cheeses and the true passion that goes into each and every cheese that leaves the dairy.

"We congratulate all the medal winners who competed at Bergamo and are delighted to fly the flag for English cheeses, and indeed Yorkshire cheeses, on the world stage."