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Christmas is a time to show off your merchandising skills and add those extra special cheeses to the range. But how can fine food retailers sell indulgence this festive season to make it truly special?
Add sparkle to your sales
Morgan McGlynn, owner of Cheeses of Muswell Hill, sees the festive season as the ultimate opportunity to go all out – classics, new indulgences and all.
“Christmas is the season for entertaining, so the shop is full of the Christmas classics but also some exclusive cheeses to the shop like our 1000-day old Comté or cherry-stuffed Camembert. Not to forget the Champagne-doused cheeses to give your cheeseboard something a little bit special.”
As a cheese aficionado herself, Morgan has suitably decadent favourite pairings: Lancashire cheese with Christmas cake, Camembert with figs and honeycomb, and Langres with Champagne.”
Once you have advised your customers on the perfect cheese combinations and accompaniments, it’s time to share advice on how to make their cheeseboard display extra special. “Christmas is a time to go all out with an impressive cheese board full of amazing cheeses and sensational pairings,” says Morgan.
“Start with your cheese – it is the star of the show after all. My cheeseboards always start with a soft, hard, blue and a goats cheese, this covers all bases, and add a smoked in for good measure too. Then fill in the gaps with stunning charcuterie and amazing accompaniments like chutneys and pickles. Don’t forget crackers and bread, and finish off with a beautiful garnish like rosemary to add colour and fragrance.”
Morgan and her team at Cheeses of Muswell Hill get just as excited as their customers about the festive season, and ensure that customers never feel left out in the cold. “Forget Christmas - Cheesemas is the best season of the year! Christmas in the cheese shop is lovely as our shop is so little the queues go up to the top of the road, so we have dedicated staff that go up and down the queue while customers wait handing out cheese samples and mulled wine!”
Focus on the detail
At Holleys Fine Foods, the premium grocery distributor with an aim to enable more to enjoy outstanding foods, the focus is on additional details to make the season feel special. “Delis should offer different ranges during different seasons, as the consumers are generally trying to find something different to make their occasion special and memorable,” begins Alicia Rogers, marketing executive.
“Of course, cheese is the most crucial part of a cheeseboard, but we believe this is only the case if placed alongside a range of outstanding accompaniments. Add some festive garnishes and chutneys to your selection, and for a festive tweak try adding gingerbread, dark chocolate, cinnamon nuts or Christmas spreads.
Thankfully, Holleys offers a wide range of accompaniments that are sure to add interest to any festive cheeseboard. From its West Country Legends range of Biscuits for Cheese – including Wholemeal, Beetroot and Charcoal – to Gourmico’s rage of fine pates, from Chicken Liver and Traditional Pork or Wild Boar to Duck with a slice of Orange, Pheasant with Armagnac and Venison with Cognac, and Halkidiki’s selection of pitted and stuffed olives, there’s plenty to satisfy discerning fine food shoppers’ palates this season.
Cashing in on seasonality is a smart move for independent retailers. “To keep customers interested we feel that seasonal ranges of products should be at the heart of any deli,” explains Alicia. “Not only does it help to differentiate the brand within the season, but it keeps the customers on their toes while having to decide what to try this time!”
Christmas content supported by Woolcool – the pioneers of sustainable temperature-controlled packaging.