How cheesemongers are preparing their counters for Christmas 2022

05 October 2022, 14:58 PM
  • With just under three months to go until the big day, we spoke to four cheesemongers about what they’re putting in their Christmas cheese counters
How cheesemongers are preparing their counters for Christmas 2022

Festive bestsellers 
For Julie Oxley-Hoyle, manager of Lewis & Cooper, the big sellers are very traditional. “Our best sellers will be Hawes Traditional Wensleydale, Snowdonia Black Bomber, Cropwell Bishop Blue Stilton and Shepherds Purse Yorkshire Blue.

“In addition, we will have a range of truckles from Wensleydale and Snowdonia Cheese Company, Long Clawson White Stilton, A cave-aged Swiss Gruyere, and last year we had Alpage, a local cheese Cotherstone from Teesdale, County Durham. Brie de Meaux, Brie de Meaux with Truffle, Vacherin, Raclette and Reblochon are also big sellers for us. Most of our sales come from British cheeses.”

Stephen Fleming, owner of George & Joseph, told Speciality Food, “This year we’ll be staying true to our roots and putting on a parade of the best British classic cheeses.

“Our festive bestsellers – Baron Bigod, Colston Bassett and Dale End Cheddar – will take centre stage while new British additions such as Shorthorn Blue and St Benedict will be on our counter for their first Christmas.

“We’ll also be bringing in some Continental classics such as Vacherin Mont D’Or and Gorgonzola Dolce. Both are stunning-looking cheeses and provide a real theatrical element to our Christmas counter.

“We’ll also have a full selection of festive accompaniments and gift ideas, as well as vouchers, cheese subscriptions and event tickets for the perfect Christmas gifts!”

At The Bristol Cheesemonger, owner Oli Smith is trialling something new this festive season. “This year we are really excited for Christmas as we are going to have the best cheese we have ever had as a company.

“We took a bold approach last year in dropping traditional Stilton in favour of those who follow the same recipe, but with raw milk. Sparkenhoe Blue is the only Stilton-style cheese made on the farm where the milk is produced. We love supporting young innovative cheesemakers like Will Clarke, who not only understands milk production and farming but are also intuitive cheesemakers.

Catering for all
While some customers will be leaving it to the last minute to get freshly cut cheese, Stephen will be catering to early birds too. 

He explained, “For those shoppers who want to be really organised and avoid the festive queues in the week before Christmas Day, we’ll be expanding our longer life pre-pack and truckle selections. Cheese from Shepherd’s Purse and Godminster are customer favourites in this section.”

Daniel Williams, project manager at Godfrey C Williams & Son, believes it’s also important to ensure there are cheeses for any budget in your counter. “In terms of cheeses for Christmas, we’re expecting customers to be watching their spending. 

“They’ll still spend money on a Christmas cheeseboard, but they may choose to either purchase fewer but larger pieces or switch to better-value alternatives.”

Oli is ensuring that he is standing out from the crowd and supporting artisan British makers, as he explained, “We recently passed a bit of a milestone- every single one of our cheeses is now bought directly from the producer, making us one of a small handful of shops in the UK that take this approach.

“As a nation, we have a number of outstanding cheeses but the only way to continue this is by supporting small businesses that support a diverse range of producers. 

“We meet so many amazing people and taste so many fantastic products through our commitment to visiting producers and buying directly, so if a new producer or product comes up, we are quick to support even the smallest dairy.”

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