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8 best cheese subscription boxes: Get artisan produce delivered straight to your door

Need some inspiration to steer you away from your go-to cheddar? This is where to find it

Siobhan Grogan
Monday 07 June 2021 17:48
<p>Consider whether you want to receive a wide range of cheeses each time or have specific preferences, such as all-British produce or organic only</p>

Consider whether you want to receive a wide range of cheeses each time or have specific preferences, such as all-British produce or organic only

Cheese subscription boxes boomed during lockdown. When restaurants closed down, many artisan cheese makers lost up to 90 per cent of their business overnight and were left with a huge supply of cheese with a limited shelf life.

Many turned to the internet or home delivery to make the best of a bad situation, offering the rest of us the chance to discover good cheese that barely compares to shrink-wrapped supermarket offerings. Some subscription boxes even come with tasting notes, access to online events and suggested accompaniments for the complete experience.

When signing up for a subscription, check how long the initial contract is first as you may prefer to sample one box before committing to a longer term. Some allow you to sign up for a rolling contract and pay as you go each month so you can stop and start to suit your needs.

Consider whether you want to receive a wide range of cheeses each time or have specific preferences, such as all-British produce or organic only. Remember softer cheeses should be eaten first but most will need eating soon after receiving so this may determine when you want to arrange delivery.

We munched our way through a range of cheese boxes to find the ones we thought offered the best value for money and the finest cheese. All prices include delivery unless otherwise stated. Our top picks would all make great presents but are also perfect for discovering new favourites at home.

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You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Best cheese subscription boxes for 2021:

  • Best overall – The Fine Cheese Co. monthly cheese subscription: From £108 for three months, Finecheese.co.uk
  • Best for organic cheese – Abel and Cole monthly cheese club organic: £15.50 per box, Abelandcole.co.uk
  • Best for eating later – Cows and Co. artisan cheese lovers club: From £55 for two months, Notonthehighstreet.com
  • Best for the fun factor – Macknade cheese experience subscription: From £50 for one month, Macknade.com
  • Best for an artisan cheese board – Paxton and Whitfield Paxton's cheese club: From £120 for three months, Paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk
  • Best for cheese newbies – The Cheese Geek the jimi: £30 per box, Thecheesegeek.com
  • Best for variety – The West Country Cheese Co. monthly cheese club: From £28 per month, Westcountrycheese.co.uk
  • Best for British cheeses – The Neal’s Yard dairy subscription: From £83 for three months, Neal’syarddairy.co.uk

The Fine Cheese Co. monthly cheese subscription

Best: Overall

Price: From £108 for three months

This box is the ultimate treat for cheese lovers. It arrives in a beautiful ribbon-wrapped box from Bath with four decent-sized, hand-selected cheeses, a box of gourmet crackers and an excellent booklet with space for our own tasting notes. The subscription is a minimum of three months but can also be bought for six or 12-months and they guarantee you won’t be sent the same cheese twice during an annual subscription. Once subscribed, you can select the months you want to receive the box which is ideal if you know you’ll be away a lot or won’t need a delivery for any reason.

All cheeses are made using traditional methods from small producers and the company says that none will ever be sold in a British supermarket. Our box contained the deeply flavoured lady grey goat’s milk, a classic French fourme d’ame, a rich ice-cream-like la tur from Italy and a silky-smooth old roan, the only raw milk wensleydale actually made in Wensleydale itself. These paired perfectly with the included all-butter charcoal crackers for a feast too good to share.

Abel and Cole monthly cheese club organic

Best: For organic cheese

Price: £15.50 per box

Build the subscription that suits you with this fantastically priced monthly cheese club from organic food delivery experts Abel and Cole. The box can be ordered as a one-off or delivered every week, fortnightly, monthly or bi-monthly, though cheeses only change once every month. All cheeses are organic and can be checked in advance on their website, which is handy for meal planning or if you just want to buy a box when a particular selection takes your fancy.

Highlights in our box were a 100 per cent grass-fed cheddar we devoured chunks of (don’t judge us) and a punchy blue cheese from The Ethical Dairy, which rears calves alongside their milking mothers.

Cows and Co. artisan cheese lovers club

Best: For eating later

Price: From £55 for two months

This is a great present for the person who has everything, as subscriptions start from just two months but can last up to a whole year. Delivery is an extra £3.75 and the box comes with a glossy booklet detailing the cheeses and the history of the cheese makers. This is the same booklet for all the company’s cheeses rather than a specific one focusing on just the ones included in the box though, which feels a little less special than the targeted tasting notes that come with most other subscriptions.

The cheeses are all from Appleby Creamery in Cumbria and we loved the fact all ours had long best before dates so we could eat the cheese through the month rather than within days of receiving it. There was a good range to cover all bases too including a hard cheddar-style offering, a smoked brie, a tangy blue and, our favourite, a mould-ripened goat’s milk brie.

Macknade cheese experience subscription

Best: For the fun factor

Price: From £50 for one month

Far more than just a cheese subscription box, this is a hands-on ticket to fromage-related fun from the renowned Faversham food hall (try saying that with a mouthful of cheese). The monthly box contains a minimum of four diverse pieces of cheese weighing at least 600g, tasting notes and a scorecard, plus the perfect crackers and chutney to make your cheeses sing.

They promise a good selection of soft, hard and blue varieties made from cow, goat, sheep and buffalo milk. All ours were French and included a classic brie, a spicy roquefort, a zingy comté and a light, creamy goat’s cheese that was a dream in a salad. They were paired with delicious chive and olive oil crackers and an Italian mostarda made from black figs. Subscribers also get access to monthly live online cheese tasting sessions featuring appearances from selected cheese producers.

It’s not the cheapest box but it offers great flexibility as subscribers can opt-out or cancel at any time and aren’t committed to a minimum term. You can even add a bottle of wine perfectly matched to the cheese for an extra £15 per month.

Paxton and Whitfield Paxton’s cheese club

Best: For an artisan cheese board

Price: From £120 for three months

Impress your friends with this outstanding selection of hand cut and wrapped cheeses. This is the longest-running cheese subscription in the UK and offers three, six and 12-month subscriptions from the country’s oldest cheesemonger.

Our cheeses were top-notch and considerably more adventurous than in other boxes. They included the white-rinded ticklemore goat, which is handmade using traditional methods and has a moreish salty aftertaste and a raw cow’s milk herve vieux moulin, the only Belgian cheese with an AOP to protect its designation of origin. Tasting notes are thorough and informative with wine pairings and even nutritional information, and subscribers can request these are emailed to them to save paper. We would definitely recommend doing so as the rolled-up A4 sheets ours came on were quite fiddly to read.

The Cheese Geek the jimi

Best: For those new to cheese

Price: £30 per box

If you’re feeling a little flummoxed by fromage, this approachable, straight-talking subscription is the one for you. Every box features four or five seasonal cheeses, 85 per cent of which are British, and these can be delivered monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. You can also cancel at any time and we especially liked the fact you can specify no blue or goat’s cheese when ordering to tailor the box to your taste. Ours included a crumbly, mild cheshire and a perl wen – a fruity, creamy brie-style cheese we adored piled high on a baguette.

It’s by far the most user-friendly box of any we tested too. Every cheese is numbered in order of strength then explained in chatty, down-to-earth tasting notes. These are brilliant at offering insight into flavours without getting too technical and include useful advice such as whether you can eat the rind and unusual pairing suggestions from prosecco to a pale ale. The cheeses may not be adventurous enough for real aficionados but this is a great place to start for anyone wanting to learn more without breaking the bank.

The West Country Cheese Co. monthly cheese club

Best: Variety

Price: From £28 per month

Not sure you want to commit to a subscription? This box from Devon’s The West Country Cheese Co. is the solution. It offers either three or five artisan cheeses per month depending on which package you choose and these can be delivered bi-monthly, quarterly or as part of an annual subscription. You can even buy a single box as a one-off if you’re planning a dinner party or want to send as a gift.

Cheeses are a mix of individual and freshly cut choices with names and best-before dates hand-written on each. Portions are generous too – our box had over 900g of cheesy goodness to sample. These included a handcrafted Cornish gouda, a creamy brillat savarin from Normandy, a blue pearl las from West Wales, stoney cross from Salisbury and a semi-soft golden cenarth. This was outstanding when warmed in the oven for 20 minutes to make a gooey, melting dip we wolfed down in one sitting.

The Neal’s Yard dairy subscription

Best: For British cheese

Price: From £83 for three months

Neal’s Yard Dairy’s London shops are a treasure trove of unsung British cheeses but now you don’t have to head to the capital to stock up. This monthly subscription includes three different British or Irish cheeses each month and comes with tasting notes, a helpful sheet offering tips on storage and serving and even a map showing exactly where the cheeses come from. Subscriptions are for a minimum of three months and all our cheeses lasted 14 days so we didn’t need to panic and gorge on them immediately.

Our box contained huge hunks of sheep, goat and cow’s milk cheeses, all individually wrapped in wax paper and ideal for a cheese board. All were made using a different technique including hand-ladled (dorstone), hard-pressed (spenwood) and washed-rind (durrus). We especially enjoyed reading the story behind each cheese and durrus is now one of our go-to favourites.

The verdict: Cheese subscription services

You won’t be disappointed with any of these subscriptions and all make wonderful gifts for foodie friends. If you really want to spoil them (or yourself), The Fine Cheese Co.’s monthly cheese subscription is unbeatable for its artisan cheeses, classy presentation and bonus accompaniment.

We also loved the extras and online tastings offered with the Macknade Cheese experience subscription while The Cheese Geek’s the jimi is brilliant value and the ideal introduction for the cheese-curious.

Voucher codes

For the latest discount codes on cheese and other foodie buys, try the links below:

For nutritious food sent straight to your door, read our review of the best healthy food subscription boxes

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