Peripatetic Cheesemongering -Bristol Cheesemonger, Roving, Bristol.

I...am a cheese addict. There, I've said it. So much so, that where ever I've lived I've made it a point to scout out a good cheese shop, in order to feed the habit from time to time. Thankfully in Bath, a short hop from Bristol, there exists one of the most magnificent temples to cheese in the South West -The Fine Cheese Company. Stocking carefully sourced charcuterie, pickles and chutneys, in fact all accoutrements necessary to compliment their cheese, including fine wine; it is a must for anyone visiting the city. Bristol itself has some very good vendors, with Chandos Deli and Papadeli both keeping an excellent selection. Whilst specialising in Italian and Spanish cheese respectively are Licata & Son and El Colmada.


 


This last year however has seen a new cheese-slinger arrive into town. Riding in on her bike, peripatetic and specialising in cheese from the South West, is Bristol Cheesemonger. Rosie or Rosie Cheese, currently sells her wares from a pop-up stall in or weather permitting, outside Hart's Bakery on a monthly basis. Again, on a monthly basis, she has a stall at the Tobacco Factory market which takes place each Sunday. For cheese emergencies, and believe it or not these can crop up, she will also deliver by bike.




I stopped for some cheese chat and to ask Rosie a few questions.

WM: What got you into cheese?

BC: I was lucky enough to grow up near Tavistock which is a thriving market town in Devon. It has a fantastic selection of local businesses and retailers providing fresh local produce. Country Cheeses was one of the local shops which my parents would visit on a weekly basis and, growing up I would go along with them on their weekly shop. When I was fifteen, I asked Gary and Elise, the owners, whether they had any Saturday jobs available and that was it. I've worked for them since then really -except for two years when I went away to live in London, but I always come back to my cheesemongering.


WM: When and why did you set up Bristol Cheesemonger?

BC: I set up The Bristol Cheesemonger just less than a year ago. It stemmed from moving to Bristol and noticing what a fantastic approach the city had to local produce, food and supporting independent business. I obviously love cheese and decided to start the cheesemongering, specialising in local West country cheeses.


WM: Where do you source your cheeses from?

BC: The majority of the cheese that I supply are all from within the West country and are made by small artisan producers. A few cheeses are out of the area like Stilton for example, which has geographical protection and then a couple of the others, like Mayfield which is just beautiful and delicious.





WM: Is cheese making alive and well in the South West?

BC: Definitely. There are a number of fantastic, independent cheese makers in the South West, and it's growing which is great. I am passionate about local produce made with passion and skill, and cheese making in the South West is one of the front runners. One of the things I love about selling locally made cheese is the surprise and delight that people have when they taste it, which can surpass any continental cheese or that from a supermarket, and in some cases it is made only an hour away.


WM: Is there a particular dairy that you admire?

BC: The four main traditional Cheddar makers are up there: Westcombe; Montgomery's; Keens and Quickes. They, in some cases, have been making beautiful Cheddar for nearly a hundred years and, their cheese stores are pretty epic! I also admire smaller  cheese makers who are trying something a little different. Homewood Cheeses for example, who specialise in ewe's milk cheese and a  wonderful selection of hard and soft varieties.


WM: Do you have a favourite cheese and if so, why?

BC: I love all cheese. That's another great thing about cheese in the West country, there is such a great selection to choose from, it's impossible to have just one favourite.


WM: What are your favourite accompaniments to cheese?

BC: I'm a slight traditionalist in this sense as I always have quince cheese/paste as an accompaniment. I also love a good runner bean chutney too. There was an article in Caffeine magazine recently that partnered cheese with coffee, and I would really like to try a selection of cheeses with the cold brew that Full Court Press provide. I think it would give some really interesting flavours.





WM: Any advice on creating the perfect cheese board?

BC: You can't go wrong with a good Cheddar, a blue and a soft cheese. I'd then suggest trying something new, one perhaps you wouldn't ordinarily go for.


WM: Any cheese trends you'd like to tip us off with?

BC: Cheese and beer pairings I feel are going to become even more popular, especially with the great selection of craft beers available in Bristol. Partnered with some great charcuterie.


WM: Finally, apart from Hart's and Tobacco Factory Market, how else can we get cheese from you?

BC: I am still a nomadic cheesemonger at the moment, so those two pop-ups are the best bet. I am also going to be at Bell's Diner Sunday Market, which is once a month and I'll be aiming to attend more markets during the summer.


The next Cheese Saturday at Hart's Bakery is on the 17th of May. So be there or, be cheese-less!

Many thanks to Rosie Cheese for her time. She really does knows her cheese...


 
 
Please note: no payment was received for this post, not EVEN in cheese!


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