Cropwell Bishop Creamery opens new cafe - and it's every cheese lover's dream

A dessert counter doesn't set my heart racing. While sweet-toothed folk get excited by strawberry cheesecake and death by chocolate, I'll take it or leave it.

But give me a cheeseboard and that's a different matter. One of my fondest recollections of a trip to Legoland when my daughter was young was the immense cheese trolley at the hotel we were staying at. Without sounding like a bad parent, plenty of happy memories were made on our family day out but that cheese selection was the best I'd ever seen. The Stinking Bishop (the name is a major clue to just how pongy it is) left a lasting impression on my taste buds - and nostrils.

Blue cheese, soft cheese, hard cheese, English cheese, French, Italian, Spanish, chilli cheese, chocolate cheese, fondue, raclette, I just LOVE it all. Even Dairylea triangles. So imagine my delight when I spotted Cropwell Bishop Creamery had a blackboard outside announcing 'tea room now open'.

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The village in Rushcliffe is home to the dairy in Nottingham Road. Blue-veined Stilton, soft and creamy Beauvale and Blue Shropshire are made by a family of cheesemakers going back more than 160 years. The Stilton is on the cheese counter in Harrods, so that speaks for itself.

A shop at the site sells not just the different varieties of cheese but all the essential accoutrements - wine, chutney, crackers, plum bread and fruit cake. And now, a storage room within the shop has had a brick wall knocked down to create a bright and airy cafe.

A country farmhouse vibe is created by the whitewashed wooden chairs, pine tables decorated with fresh flowers, stripped-back bricks and a Welsh dresser. My visit coincides with the very first week of opening. The locals know about it but word has yet to spread further afield.

I'm the only one there, so I have my pick of the tables. The menu, as you'd expect revolves around cheese. The launch menu offers boards with different combinations, not limited to locally made cheeses produced by the third generation of the Skailes family.

Amongst them is a Ploughman's with Stilton, Beauvale and Red Leicester, accompanied by Mrs King's pork pie and piccalilli. Another cheesy treat is a mature Cheddar scone with butter. There are a few non-cheese options including a classic scone with jam and clotted cream, teacakes, pastries and brownies for anyone who isn't a turophile - a fancier way of saying you're a cheese lover.

I order a board offering a Taste of Cropwell Bishop. As much as I'd like a big glass of Malbec (a) it's only just gone 11am and (b) it doesn't look like the cafe is licensed to serve wine, so I settle for an Americano made with coffee from a Notts roastery, Stewarts of Trent Bridge.

A friendly young man brings me a bottle of water and we chat about the weather, which for once is warm, so the breeze coming through the open window is quite welcome. After my cheeseboard arrives, I send a photo to my pal Rachel - another huge cheese fan whose response is: "OH MY GOD!!!! That looks incredible."

She's not wrong. Three hunks of cheese, that a Trivial Pursuit board would be proud of, grace the wooden platter. Although made by the same creamery, each has its own distinct taste and texture.

White Stilton is crumbly, lighter and fresher than its blue relative. Together with a dollop of quince jam, it is the savoury person's equivalent of strawberries and cream.

Beauvale, a soft and creamy blue is an English rival to continental cheeses like Dolcelatte and it spreads beautifully on both the Hambleton sourdough bread and crackers, with no need for the supplied butter. The Blue Shropshire, an orange colour with blue veins, is as different again, with a delicate sweetness.

Grapes, both green and red, and finely sliced apple, help to freshen the mouth in between. An Eccles cake is something I've never had with cheese before but the currant-packed pastry from the award-winning Hambleton Bakery is certainly something I'd have again.

For £10 it's a really good feed - I can't completely polish it off, although I make a jolly good effort. It feels extra satisfying knowing that the cheese has been made close to where I'm sitting. Provenance doesn't get much better than that.

In fact decades ago the cheese used to be made in the very spot where I'm sitting. Sarah Gladman-Bell, who looks after the cafe and shop, points out part of the wall with different coloured bricks.

"This room actually was there the original dairy was where they used to make cheese. The wall has a dispatch door where the cheese used to go out the front," she said. "There has been a creamery on site for over 150 years and the shop at the front for nine-and-a-half years."

And in music to my ears, she said cheese toasties may be sold when autumn approaches.

* Since my visit I've been told that the cafe does have a licence and customers will be able to have wine or port with their cheese and the cheeseboards are now £12.