- "Cheese is fascinating" says Rosie from The Bristol Cheesemonger
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My decision to open a cheesemongers specialising in local and seasonal cheeses was influenced in many ways. As a business owner and consumer I feel that supporting local business, farms and dairies is essential. I’ve worked in speciality food and drink the majority of my working life, and starting a business which enabled me to facilitate this passion, as well as being very challenging, was a decision I am very pleased I made!
I started working in a specialist cheese shop in Tavistock, Devon when I was 15. Right from my first day working at Country Cheeses, the huge complexity and differences of the product became clear, and it was instantly something which I found interesting and important. Growing up in rural England enables you to see how important supporting local farmers and businesses are. The countryside in this country is beautiful and in many ways managed by farmers who work tirelessly. I saw first hand the positive impact supporting local business can have on the local community and the local area, allowing it to thrive.
Cheese is fascinating. With subtle differences in flavour and numerous different variants which affect it as an end product, this will continue to be a point of interest for me and something which I love discussing with my customers. As an industry, I feel it is very collaborative. The farmer, the cheesemaker and the cheesemonger work hand-in-hand.
Discussion about feed and pasture variation are openly discussed and how this affects the flavour of the cheese and impact on the end product amongst a whole host of other contributing factors. The time of year, diet of the animals and quality of the milk have huge effects on cheese as an end product. Animal husbandry is key, and farms and dairies work continually and tirelessly to ensure that the animals are in the best possible condition. With most food and drink, once you scratch the surface there is an exacting science into how it is made and the skill which goes into it. This is something which I personally feel must be supported, understood and championed. When local people support their local food supplier or a local business which supports other local businesses, this support feeds directly back into the area they live and work.
I feel it is important also to showcase the amazing and wonderful variety of produce we supply in the West country and throughout the UK. We do have many requests for Continental cheeses, of which most cases we have a local equivalent which we suggest and tends to go down well!
Running your own business is hard and I take my hat off to anyone who does it, regardless of industry or sector. Even though I find it very challenging running my own business, I also find it incredibly rewarding. Not only do I learn a lot out myself on a daily basis, I am also continually learning fascinating facts about the industry and how it is growing and supporting itself and others who work alongside it. The general public I believe are also really engaged with the industry and are equally passionate and supportive. The hunger for cheeses as well as learning about it as a product and an industry is huge and the general public are incredibly support and informed, equally passionate about the support they can give local businesses and local farmers.