A North Yorkshire cheesemaker has carried off a major honour in the industry's largest and most trusted event, the Great Taste Awards.

It is the latest accolade to be added to the trophy cabinet of the hugely successful Shepherd’s Purse, based near Thirsk. The company's Mrs Bell’s Blue cheese was one of only ten British cheeses to win three stars at the prestigious awards, beating off 14,000 other products from 100 countries.

Mrs Bell's Blue is a rich, complex sheep’s milk blue cheese, handmade and matured for a minimum of ten weeks. The cheese is sold through independent cheese shops, farm shops and Booths and Waitrose supermarkets.

Launched in 1997, it has become one of Shepherd's Purse's most honoured cheeses, having also won gold at the World Cheese Awards in 2019 and Champion Ewe’s Cheese at the 2022 International Cheese and Dairy Awards.

Caroline Bell, joint managing director of Shepherd’s Purse, said: “We’re completely blown away to win three stars for Mrs Bell's Blue at the Great Taste Awards. They announced the results on Yorkshire Day which felt very apt. We put a lot of love and passion into our cheeses which are all made by hand, so it’s amazing to have this hard work recognised.”

Shepherd’s Purse is an independent family-owned dairy which makes cheese in the traditional way. It was established by Judy Bell in the 1980s, who discovered her passion and talent for cheesemaking and wanted to create quality cheeses as an alternative to cows' milk cheese. It now has a range of ten cheeses which include sheep, cow and even buffalo milk cheeses. Mrs Bell died in March last year aged 71.

A panel of esteemed food and drink experts judged this year’s Great Taste Awards and waxed lyrical about Mrs Bell’s Blue calling it a "visually stunning cheese" and a "cheese that melts in your mouth and takes you on a journey of taste and flavour". They added: “This is a high quality cheese and clearly the producer has put their heart into creating this cheese.”

The Great Taste Award is the world’s largest and most trusted food and drink accreditation scheme organised by the Guild of Fine Foods. It allows food and drink producers to put their products to the test with a panel of over 500 experts.

Shepherd’s Purse’s Harrogate Blue, which won Super Gold at the World Cheese Awards in 2017, was also awarded one star at this year’s Great Taste Awards.