There have been some big changes in the cheese shop since my last post. The biggest of which is Angela’s retirement from the world of cheese. Before we started in the shop I really knew very little about cheese, other than the fact that it’s all delicious! Angela helped Ali and I to choose the cheese we had for our wedding and inspired us to become cheesemongers ourselves. She and I worked closely together when we took over the shop and she (very patiently) taught me so much not just about each cheese but also how to nurture and care for them. We had a bit of a send off at the Swan Pub in Pangbourne and we all wish Angela the very best.
But what else is new? We’ve recently been crowned Cheesemongers of the Year which you can read a bit more about in its own blog and I have just found out today that we have been shortlisted in the National Family Business Awards. Ali and I are so passionate about cheese and we are so proud of everyone who is involved here in the shop. Pangbourne is like one big family, we all look out for each other, it’s a proper village in that respect. I love coming to work every single day.
Our cheese counter is looking pretty full at the moment. We’re stocking the newest cheese from our friends at Norton & Yarrow, Brightwell Ash, which is a soft, gooey, ash covered goats cheese and from the other side of the Channel, the Aged Comtè is simply stunning. We’ve also had some lovely guest cheeses in, with the Dorset Blue Vinny and Cerney Ash being two of my favourites. It’s always such a pleasure to introduce our customers to new cheeses and the guest spots in our counter are a great way to do it. Everyone has their own personal favourites but it’s always good to explore different taste and flavour profiles.
On the non-cheesy side of the shop we’ve got some great Bumble Wrap products which are a fab alternative to cling film. Unfortunately we can’t use them in the cheese counter as some people are allergic to bee products and we can’t introduce an allergen to the cheeses but they are there for customers to make use of at home. We’ve got some great table sauces in which are free from refined sugars (they really are very good!) and our local honeycomb has been going down a storm with the folk of Pangbourne.
On a personal front my running is going well – I’m averaging 80km a week at the moment. In a brief period of insanity I entered the Oxford half marathon (I think it was my version of a mid-life crisis …) so am starting to worry that I’m not nearly fit enough but I’ve got a while still to train for it. Fitting it in around my extra hours in the shop is proving tricky but hopefully it won’t be too much of a disaster!
Other than that we’ve got a few events coming up.. I’m hosting a Gin & Cheese night tomorrow for our local PTA (it’s a first for me but I hope it’s going to be a good night for all of those attending!), this weekend is the Ufton Court Wedding Fayre and I’m also doing a brief stint on Radio Berkshire, and then we are going to be at the English Wine & Food Festival at Brightwell Vineyard on the 8th June. It’s going to be a summer of cheese!