Read on for all of our news including the newest cheese on the block – Haywain from Nettlebed Creamery.
Oh crikey, where does the time go?! I can’t believe that we’re in the middle of February and gosh it’s been a long time since I last updated my blog. Many apologies for my lack of news. Life here in Pangbourne was incredibly hectic throughout December, culminating in a fabulous Christmas. Ali and I would like to thank all of our amazing customers who waited patiently in the cheese queue as well as all of our customers who had pre-ordered their cheese and so could skip the line. Our shop wouldn’t survive without the wonderful people who shop here, so thank you.
I am always so chuffed with how our team pull together at Christmas and 2018 was no exception. Poor Angela was off work with a horrible flu bug and so missed her first retail Christmas ever, but Chris, Jan and Jonny took that in their stride and kept going alongside myself, Ali and Tara (our very efficient daughter who was in total charge of the cheese store). It was a hectic few days, but we all survived.
Often January is a quiet month for us but this year we’ve hit the ground running. (Hence it taking me until Valentine’s Day to write this…) I’ve been busy heading out and about finding some new suppliers as well as some new cheeses. I wanted to get a hard Scottish ewe’s cheese in for Burn’s Night and so I went for the Corra Linn. It’s been so popular that I’ve just topped up our order. The batch we currently have in stock was made in 2016 and you can really taste the age of the cheese. It has a texture not dissimilar to a parmigiano reggiano and its flavour is reminiscent of roast lamb. I was doing some research (there’s nothing I like better than reading about cheese) and the cheese itself is named after a waterfall in Lanarkshire near where it is made. My father proposed to my mother next to a Scottish waterfall so that is one cheese fact that I will always remember!
We also have a new cheese in the counter which is made just up the road from us in Nettlebed. At the moment they are calling it Haywain as they are maturing the cheese in hay. It’s the cheesemakers way of re-introducing the terroir back into the cheese after the milk has been pasteurised. The cheese itself is creamy with lovely grassy undertones and it’s fast becoming one of our favourites here in the shop.
Ali went to the Spring Fair at the NEC last week on the look out for Christmas items. We only have a small space for giftware so it’s really important that we fill it with the right things. She came back with some fabulous ideas which I’m really looking forward to seeing. We are also about to start stocking locally made pottery which will be fab. I am so not artistic in any way shape or form so am always blown away by the wonderful things people can create. I’m also hoping that we are going to be able to start selling our own range of giftware soon…watch this space!
On a personal front it’s been a tough couple of weeks as my grandmother passed away at the beginning of February. She was a truly inspirational lady and if I ever needed to talk things over with someone she was always my first call. When I let her know that Ali and I had bought a cheese shop the only thing she said to me was “Retail is in your genes so I have every confidence that you will be a natural behind the cheese counter”. I have never met anyone who was as intelligent as she was and as quick witted and I will miss her.