Chandeliers and other bourgeois touches provide the backdrop to stunning displays of fine cheeses from top producers at this Spitalfields cheese shop, and the quality is second to none. Shoppers obviously get to have a field day, but there’s also plenty for those who want to eat in – from charcuterie and rillettes to fondues and raclette – all matched by a decently priced wine list.
Old Spitalfields Market, 10a Lamb St, E1 6EA. 7247 7437. Tube: Liverpool Street
Heroically local, Blackwoods Cheese Company started producing in 2013, working out of a small dairy in Brockley and selling its wares at the nearby Saturday market (cash only). Look for its signature Graceburn as well as Edmund Tew and William Heaps, a fresh lactic variant. Blackwoods also has a stall in Borough Market and supplies several specialist food stores.
Brockley Market, Lewisham College Car Park, Lewisham Way, SE4 1UT. 8691 4918. Brockley Overground
Brindisa serves Balham in the shape of this deli outpost: a spin-off of its warehouse on Weir Road. Fans of artisan and ‘shepherds’ cheese are in for a treat, with many obscure regional varieties on display; check out the organic manchego, smoked Idiazábal, Garrotxa and Torralba Mahon for starters. Brindisa’s celebrated, hand-carved, acorn-fed jamón and other cured meats are also on show.
6 Hildreth St, SW12 9RG. 8675 4178. Tube: Balham
Rhuaridh Buchanan passed up the chance of working with US superstar chef Thomas Keller to train in the maturing rooms at Paxton & Whitfield, before opening his own gaff. These days, he keeps restaurant storerooms topped up as well as running the shop, which offers an impressive line-up sourced from more than 100 of the most respected British and European cheesemakers. You can also nibble on toasties and charcuterie with a glass of wine. All very sociable.
5a Porchester Place, W2 2BS. 3441 8010. Tube: Marble Arch
Founded by ‘Duchess of Cheese’ Sue Cloke (ex-Harvey Nichols and Paxton & Whitfield), this place is now a stalwart of historic Leadenhall Market; look for the word ‘CHEESE’ writ large above the shopfront. In addition to serving around 100 British and European cheeses, the place doubles as a wine bar-cum-restaurant with – you guessed it – a cheese-based menu that’s more ‘croque madame’ than ‘cheese toastie’. Great for gifts and tastings too.
4-5 Leadenhall Market, EC3V 1LR. 7929 1697. Tube: Bank
Fascinating new specimens sit alongside tried-and-trusted favourites at this established Greenwich shop, so browse the selection and nibble as the fancy takes you. Whether you’re after an 18-month matured gruyère, Baron Bigod (a British ‘brie’ made from raw milk) or a little ball of Belper Knolle, this place is up to the task. Larder standbys, beers and wines flesh out the shelves, and you can even order a bespoke tiered wedding cake created with different cheeses for that special day.
26 Royal Hill, SE10 8RT. 8305 0401. Greenwich rail
Established in 1982, this snazzy little shop manages to pack more than 200 different cheeses into a small space. Much of the enterprise depends on the passion and expertise of owner Morgan McGlynn, who is crazy about cheese-ology and oversees every aspect of the business (with help from her family). Classics such as truffle-studded brie have their moment, but everything is handpicked and bought straight from the dairy – no middlemen here. This place won Time Out’s Best Shop award in 2016.
13 Fortis Green Rd, N10 3HP. 8444 9141. Tube: East Finchley
The name alone should set your cheese antennae twitching, although there’s much more on offer at this family-run outfit in Borough Market. Owners Florent, Sylvain and Fabien Joly hail from the Franche-Comté region near the Swiss border, and they’re keen to promote the area’s gastro-diversity, so expect anything from the namesake Grand Reserve Comté (seriously aged, of course) to Mont d’Or, Morbier, Cacouyard and Bon Grivois, plus hand-cured charcuterie and wines from the region.
Unit 16b, Borough Market, Stoney St, SE1 9AH. 07543 384859. Tube: London Bridge
The ’froth’ is craft beer, the ‘rind’ is farmhouse cheese, courtesy of upscale specialist the East London Cheese Board. It’s a happy and sexy marriage, with a terrific assortment of Anglo-European specimens on show for those who like their dairy produce with an obscure artisan name tag. Taste before you buy, sip a draught of locally brewed Beavertown ale or lick one of Amelia’s ices in the adjoining coffee shop.
37 Orford Rd, E17 9NL. Tube: Walthamstow Central
Although it now has a wholesale base in Suffolk, this cheese shop has been serving Battersea well for more than 20 years and still has a gilt-edged reputation for quality. The choice is huge, but staff know their way around the display and are more than happy to advise; you can also try for yourself, of course. In addition, HJ stocks smoked salmon, charcuterie, chutneys, pasta, chocolates, artisan beers and more.
48 Northcote Rd, SW11 1PA. 7738 0741. Clapham Junction Overground
Although it’s billed as ‘London’s local wine merchant’, there’s more to Jeroboams than chardonnay and pinot noir. It’s also a delicatessen and provisions shop ‘by royal appointment’ with a serious reputation for British and French cheese – typified by the selection in this flagship on Holland Park Avenue, which is where it all began back in 1985.
96 Holland Park Avenue, W11 3RB. 7727 9359. Tube: Holland Park
Kappacasein’s owner (and one-time Neal’s Yard affineur) Bill Oglethorpe makes his raclette-style Ogleshield cheese in Bermondsey, using rich, unpasteurised, full-fat milk, although he has plenty more strings to his bow. At his stall in Borough Market, cheeseheads also stand in line for some of the most oozing and meltingly rich toasties in town, while on Saturdays you can taste and buy Kappacasein’s cheeses at the Dairy itself – no toasties, though.
1 Voyager Industrial Estate, Spa Rd, SE16 4RP. 7394 5520. Tube: Bermondsey
What makes this place special is the fact that it practises affinage: sourcing ‘raw’ cheeses from artisan producers and ripening them to perfection in special maturing rooms under the supervision of trained affineurs. The world is your larder here, with everything from Altobut Vecchio (from the Friuli Alps) to Zelu Koloria (a Basque classic) on offer. There are branches in Marylebone and Bloomsbury, too.
30 Highbury Park, N5 2AA. 7359 7440. Tube: Highbury & Islington
If you’ve poked around Borough or Brockley Markets in search of cheese, you’ve probably seen Mons – a second-generation family outfit overseen by main man Hervé. The good news is that they now have a permanent shop selling imported French and Swiss varieties, which are ripened in cellars at St Haon le Châtel and matured in their Bermondsey warehouse (you can buy stuff here, too). Top picks? Try Brebis Fougere, Salers de Buron and Vacherin d’Areches for starters.
153 Lordship Lane, SE22 8HD. 3004 5701. East Dulwich rail
Founded by Nick Saunders and Randolph Hodgson in 1979, Neal’s Yard Dairy played the green/organic/artisan card long before it became de rigueur, although it has morphed from renegade hippy upstart to mainman on London’s ever-evolving cheese scene. NYD specialises in cheeses from the UK and Ireland, with around 40 producers contributing to the list and lots of regional obscurities regularly on show. There’s a large store in Borough Market as well.
17 Short’s Gardens, WC2H 9AT. 7240 5700. Tube: Covent Garden
A prince among cheesemongers – with the ‘by appointment’ status to prove it – Paxton & Whitfield has been sourcing, maturing and selling cheese in London for more than two centuries and shows no sign of slowing down. It does hampers, gifts and special deliveries, but nothing beats a browse round the shop itself: a regally whiffy experience to savour, perhaps accompanied by some sage advice from the immensely knowledgeable staff.
93 Jermyn St, SW1Y 6JE. 7930 0259. Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Billed as a ‘wine and cheese shop’, this cute store on Holloway Road was set up by two chaps from Borough Wine to highlight producers from both camps, with back-up charcuterie, bread and craft beers. They stock more than 70 varieties of cheese from small farmhouse dairies using raw milk, and they’re happy to sell small portions at very reasonable prices – a godsend if you’re planning to try something new.
167 Holloway Road, N7 8LX. 7700 0476. Tube: Holloway Road
The massive London flagship of ‘the world’s leading organic and natural grocer’ spreads itself over three floors on Ken High Street, a one-stop Aladdin’s cave complete with butcher, baker, fishmonger and, of course, a mighty section devoted to ‘real’ cheese. It even has a dedicated temperature-controlled cheese room. Fancy.
The Barkers Building, 63-97 Kensington High St, W8 5SE. 7368 4500. Tube: High Street Kensington
‘The urban cheesemaker’ Philip Wilton and his mates started Wildes in 2012 and now produce their artisan cheeses on an industrial estate in Tottenham. They keep things strictly local: one of their specialities (St Bruce) is washed in Redemption beer brewed across the road. Buy Wildes cheese at Alexandra Palace Farmers’ Market and Myddleton Road Market, or arrange a visit to the cheesemaking premises, where they hold tasting sessions and organise tours.
Queen St, N17 8JA. 07758 755248. White Hart Lane Overground
A fixture of the East Dulwich scene for around 20 years, this friendly neighbourhood shop sells around 200 varieties of cheese from across the globe – all properly matured as appropriate, and only sold when they’re at their peak. The shop also does decent bread, charcuterie, chutneys and chocolates. Local popularity and a solid reputation translate into queues at peak times. You’ve been warned.
69 Lordship Lane, SE22 8EP. 8299 3636. East Dulwich rail
Surprise, surprise! This indie provisions store really did start life in a basement before upgrading to its current premises: a smartly renovated Victorian grocer’s shop. Expect a goodly range of organic fruit and veg, artisan breads, charcuterie and kitchen staples, although an astonishing line-up of cheeses is the main attraction. Watch out for the arrival of whole Stiltons and other goodies in the run-up to Christmas.
211 Victoria Park Rd, E9 7JN. 8533 5006. London Fields rail
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