CHEESEMAKERS in North Yorkshire are set to benefit after their French counterparts fell out of favour in America over France's opposition to the Iraq war.

A team of buyers from the United States, including Robert Kaufelt, owner of the famous New York cheese shop, Murray's Cheese, has travelled to the county with shopping baskets ready to be filled with Yorkshire's finest.

They have visited a "mini trade exhibition" in Harrogate, organised jointly by Business Link York and North Yorkshire and York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, and also gone to Wensleydale Dairy in Hawes before attending a reception at York's Mansion House and enjoying dinner at St William's College, York.

Katie Bell, sales and marketing manager for Shepherds Purse Cheeses, in Thirsk, said: "If Americans are looking to steer away from French cheeses, it's great news for us. We specialise in soft blue cheeses, similar to the continental styles such as dolcelatte, and our ewe's milk blue is known as the British equivalent to French Roquefort, only better!"