Everyone has their favourite place to shop, even to buy cheese. Buying from outlets other than supermarkets will be more expensive, nevertheless, you will return home with a superior cheese and eating experience.
Here is a roundup of the places where I buy my cheeses from and the reasoning behind them. They are not in any particular order, however, each location provides a certain experience and selection of cheese that would fit my needs at that moment in time.
Yes, I know I just said you can do better than supermarkets but give me a chance to explain myself.
If I only bought cheese from my preferred vendors, I would either have to do without any cheese or be broke. Quality cheese is a luxury habit, and the obsession can become rather expensive for me when I have the tendencies to binge.
Supermarket cheese will be at the bottom of the list, though there is no denying that they are convenient, cheap and quick. I would never buy the ‘value range’ varieties though.
I have some dignity, and I would like to keep my taste buds.
A lot of good finds can be found at a supermarket where a few kinds of cheese are semi-handmade or made with quality ingredients. Farm ‘labelled’ cheeses are my usual go-to’s. You have to be careful though as sometimes UK supermarkets love to conceive fictional farms. You end up thinking you are buying a quality cheese but it is, in fact, the supermarket’s own label product.
The only supermarket branded cheese I purchase is Tesco’s Vintage Finest cheddar and some of Waitrose’s & Sainsbury top-tier cheeses.
I need to be careful when eating a lot of cheese as I have the tendency to bloat in the face. Goat cheese thankfully does not make me bloat. There is actually a cheddar style goat’s cheese that I discovered, but annoyingly it is only available in select supermarkets.
Buying From Cheesemongers
I am not a cheese expert or connoisseur. Not yet anyway. If I need help with choosing the perfect cheese for a specific need, then I will speak to a specialist. A cheesemonger is this expert. You could get advice direct from the producers however it is not feasible to produce, store and have knowledge in a variety of different cheeses we have in the world.
A cheesemonger will not have these problems as their focus is to sell all kinds of cheese. Therefore they are ideally situated to have the opportunity to learn the art of cheesemaking as an overview and to then direct their expertise on what cheeses would work for particular circumstances and most importantly the varieties available.
The mongers I visit have an extensive collection of cheeses. It can be pretty daunting with all the spectacles and smells as you walk into a store however a cheesemonger is always close by to help.
The only downside is the cost can soon start to add up. I don’t have any close to me too. The closest cheesemonger is the next city over.
My go-to cheesemonger is Paxton & Whitefield.
Buying Cheese From Farmers Market
Buying from my local farmer’s market is my recommended place to get cheese. Not only can you buy cheese in its purest state, but it is the best kind of cheese you can get too.
When you buy cheese from a farmers market, you will be able to talk to the very people who produce the products.
There is no barrier between vendor and customer filled with marketing words and gimmicks. You will know what you are buying, from the methods used to produce the cheese, the ingredients sourced & used and knowledge of the animal’s welfare.
Often artisans, vendors at farmers markets tendency to experiment with their recipes and flavours to produce products that truly are special.
Not only are you buying the freshest of goods direct from the suppliers, but you are also helping support the local community as there is no middle person for money to exchange hands.