Ayrshire is a stunning historic region of Scotland located in the South West. It is a gateway to the Inner Hebrides and popular holiday spots like the Isle of Arran and Galloway Forest Park. But besides the rich culture and history that can be found here, Ayrshire cheese tastings are also extremely popular in the region thanks to well-known cheeses produced here, like Dunlop cheese!
Local production has blossomed over the years, leading to a thriving dairy industry in Ayrshire and plenty of unique places to indulge in Scotland’s finest cheeses. Here are the cheeses you need to try while in Ayrshire and where you can buy them.
In This Post
Prominent Cheeses in Ayrshire
Turophiles and fans of buttery-tasting cheese will already be aware of the excellent cheeses produced in Ayrshire, but if you want a guide on which cheeses you should be looking out for, read one!
Traditional Ayrshire Dunlop
For a good reason, the traditional Ayrshire Dunlop is the most famous cheese that the region is known for. This hard-pressed cheese is not dissimilar to cheddar but has a more moist texture overall. A young Ayrshire Dunlop will treat you to a smooth and nutty flavour, which sharpens to a good strength as the cheese matures.
The Ayrshire Dunlop dates back to the 1700s when a farmer’s daughter made a new cheese from an old Irish recipe, which used a unique whole milk recipe, whereas previously, only skimmed milk was used.
You’ll know it’s an actual Dunlop cheese made from milk from Ayrshire cows and then matured for 12 to 14 months. It’s an irresistible cheese dominating the region’s stores and hearts.
The smoked version of the traditional Ayrshire Dunlop offers cheese lovers an entirely new delicious dimension to enjoy. The previously mild cheese takes on a brooding, smooth close texture that delights the palette and makes it difficult to stop once you start eating.
The Smoked Dunlop takes an Ayrshire, which uses a whole milk recipe from local cows, which is then smoked using traditional oak whisky barrel shavings. If you can’t get enough of the Dunlop cheese, you’ll love the Smoked Dunlop.
Lovers of soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert will find the Aiket delectable. This soft, white-mould cheese is made from pasteurised cow’s milk from an Ayrshire cow. It’s usually enjoyed either very young or ripe. When it’s young, it offers a mild, creamy taste which grows into a slight sharpness that almost tastes like mushrooms as it ages.
Since we’ve covered plenty of cheeses from the Dunlop cow, Bonnet cheese is made from goat’s cheese – to some, a superior cheese for cheese. Bonnet, in particular, is a hard-pressed cheese made from Saanen and Toggenburg goats.
The Bonnet is a harder cheese named after Stewarton, which had previously made Bonnet for army regiments!
Arran Cheese Shop
Across the waters from Ayr, you may see the famed Isle of Arran! The Isle of Arran is a popular destination, and there’s plenty for cheese lovers to explore here. The Arran Cheese Shop offers an excellent range of cheeses, including cheddar cheese in various flavours (chilli, claret, mustard, and more).
This farm shop is located in Brodick and is made with the traditional methods that other Ayrshire cheeses also are made with.
Brodies Deli is found in Troon, Scotland, and is one of the best places to try not only the many cheeses of Ayrshire but also the other artisanal Scottish foods. But their cheese selection is also nothing to scoff at – you can buy different cheeses from the Isle of Arran, Snowdonia, and a few cheese-making kits if you want to see if you can!
But Brodies Deli truly shines when you purchase several hampers, making the perfect picnic brunch. From deli meat, chutney, honey, chocolate, and other snacks, we bet you’ll be spoilt for choice when you next visit this shop.
One of the most famous cheese shops in Ayrshire is Dunlop Dairy; the creators painstakingly craft many of the cheeses we’ve mentioned in this article. Dunlop Dairy can be found on a west Clerkland farm, where for generations, the untenable farm was turned into one of the premier cheese shops that make Dunlop famous.
Dunlop Dairy has cows and goats, providing them with fresh milk, which they use to make the best cheese in East Ayrshire. Dunlop Dairy is one of the best places to enjoy a vegetarian rennet cheese or two while visiting the region, and it is a must-see location in Dunlop, Ayrshire.
Other Cheese Shops & Cheese Tastings in Scotland
- Dumfries & Galloway Cheese Shops & Tastings
- Edinburgh Cheese Shops & Tastings
- Isle of Arran Cheese Shops & Tastings
- Isle of Mull Cheese Shops & Tastings
- Isle of Skye Cheese Shops & Tastings
- St Andrew Cheese Shops & Tastings