FEEDING THE CURIOUS SINCE 2010

CHEESE SHOPS

You’d better brie-lieve that Londoners love cheese – cheese pop-ups, cheese bars, cheese markets, we just can’t get enough. Luckily the city is home to some epic cheese shops to keep us all in a steady supply of fromage.

One of the jewels in London’s cheese crown has to be Paxton & Whitfield. The shop on Jermyn Street goes all the way back to 1797, but even that stems from a market stall set up in 1742. That’s 278 years of cheese mongering experience and an absolute mountain of cheese that’s passed through this shop’s doors. It even holds two Royal Warrants, one from the Prince of Wales and one from Her Maj herself. If it’s good enough for royalty, it’s good enough for us.

The three outposts of La Fromagerie are a celebration of all things français (although they do stock stuff from further afield) and they’re the places to go for a glass or two of vin to go with all that fromage. Hop over the border (and into Stokey) for Swiss cheese from Jumi. The family behind it have five generations of experience in making cheese, so they seriously know what they’re doing, with a focus from quality all the way from the milking of the cows to the delivery of the produce to customers

But if you want to be surrounded by the British stuff, Neal’s Yard Dairy is the place to go – the cheesemongers, all dressed in wellies, white coats and hairnets, will cut you little slivers to nibble as you go. Provisions Cheese and Wine on Holloway Road is ideal for both perusing and partaking – you can stop in to buy a bottle, or a hunk (or even a wheel) of cheese, and in the evening you can pitch up with a date or a mate.

LA FROMAGERIE

£££
La Fromagerie, 30 Highbury Park, London N5 2AA, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

French food is practically synonymous with cheese (the smellier the better) and this clutch of three boujie cheese shops is a celebration of all things français. Yes, it all started with the cheese, but the sites are also deli and café all-rounders, selling all the classic charcuterie, gourmet tinned goods (hello Ortiz anchovies), wine and beautiful tableware your little heart could dream of. What’s more, each location – Highbury, Bloomsbury, Marylebone – runs tasting events and one-off dinners. The focus was originally French, but they all sell produce from British and further afield – the only thing you need to know is that if it’s sold at La Fromagerie, it’ll be absolutely delicious. And while you’re there it would be rude to visit without a little glass of French vin, non?

CHEESES OF MUSWELL HILL

13 Fortis Green Rd, Muswell Hill, London N10 3HP
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Cheeses by name, cheeses by nature: this is truly a place that does what it says on the tin. Everything – and we mean everything – is about the stinky stuff here. The shop may be small (and beautiful) but it sure packs a lot in, stocking more than 200 different kinds of fromage. You could make it your mission to try them all, or you could be guided by founder Morgan McGlynn, whose dairy knowledge knows almost no bounds. The shop is family run but she’s at the (cheese) wheel, hand picking every variety straight from the dairy. Elsewhere, the shop sells all the tools you could possibly need in your cheesy arsenal, from wine to crackers to condiments. They’ve also been making cheese wedding cakes for more than 10 years. Do you think you have to be getting married in order to buy one? Asking for a friend.

THE CHEESEBOARD

26 Royal Hill, Greenwich, London SE10 8RT
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Saturday: 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Down in the sophisticated surrounds of Greenwich (it’s a Royal Borough, dontcha know), an equally sophisticated cheesemonger has been purveying some of the finest fromages in town for more than 30 years. This is, obviously, a brilliant place to build your ideal cheeseboard, whether it’s for a special occasion or just your next afternoon snack. Hey, no judgement here. The shop sells cheese from all the usual suspects – Britain, France, Italy – and beyond, including Norway. Yes, you heard it here first: this is the place to get your gob around Norwegian brown cheese, or gjetost, without getting yourself all the way to Scandinavia. If you don’t know it, brown cheese is a sweeter, almost fudgey cheese made with caramelised way that gets thinly sliced or shaved onto toast. It’s an acquired taste, sure, but in our humble opinion it’s delicious.

NEAL'S YARD DAIRY

17 Short's Gardens, London WC2H 9AT, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

A trip to a Neal’s Yard shop is heaven for fromage-ophiles – and yes, that is the technical term. Neal’s Yard is mainly all about British cheese, but you’ll find the odd French or Italian variety on offer, too. The company kicked things off in Covent Garden – in Neal’s Yard, natch – but went on to set up two more shops, one in Bermondsey and one in Borough Market, so all your cheese needs will be catered for. And it’s all about the experience: go in to buy one cheese but allow yourself time to linger as the cheesemongers – all dressed in wellies, white coats and hairnets – can talk you through your decision, cutting you little slivers to nibble as you go. That’s lunch sorted, then.

PROVISIONS CHEESE AND WINE

167 Holloway Road, London N7 8LX, UK

Holloway Road is an unsuspecting location for an under-the-radar clutch of cool restaurants and shops, and Provisions in the jewel in its crown. This independent wine shop and deli is ideal for both perusing and partaking – you can stop in to buy a bottle, or a hunk (or even a wheel) of cheese, and in the evening you can pitch up with a date or a mate. A central table makes the ideal gathering spot for an evening of sipping and snacking, whether you fancy wine, craft beer, cheese or charcuterie, most of which is sourced from small growers in lesser-known regions in France and Italy. And this is a place that seriously cares about what it serves; the owners frequently visit the growers and producers it works with, which is always good news in our books. And even better news, if you buy a bottle from the shelves to enjoy in-store, you can get it at a wholesale price with a small corkage fee.

PISTACHIO AND PICKLE DAIRY

Pistachio & Pickle Dairy, 6 Camden Passage, London N1 8ED, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Camden Passage: an unsung hero of North London, home to a slew of independent shops, cafés and restaurants just begging for an afternoon of meandering. A vital stop on the strip is Pistachio and Pickle, where you’ll find British artisan cheese, crackers, chutneys and, yes, pickles – although we’re not sure whether you’ll actually get any pistachios here. During the week it’s a shop – or you can get a melty cheese-packed toastie – while at the weekends it’s the place to enjoy a cheeseboard and a glass of wine or five. Come with a mate, come with a date, or simply come on your own. If you’re after more of a coffee shop vibe, it has a sister cafe on Liverpool Road, serving Monmouth coffee, pastries, cakes and brunch.

LONDON CHEESEMONGERS

251 Pavilion Rd, Chelsea, London SW1X 0BP, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Flavour comes first at this one-off Chelsea cheese shop that sells 30 cheeses from its counter. That might seem like a small number in comparison to many of the other ‘mongers around, but it’s that way for a reason: the selection of cheeses on offer is tightly curated by a collection of people who seriously love what they do. The range changes according to availability and the season, making sure every single choice is a celebration of the work that goes into these artisanal food products. Most importantly, the guys that run it encourage tasting. Lots and lots of tasting. Don’t mind if we do.

PAXTON AND WHITFIELD

£££
93 Jermyn St, St. James's, London SW1Y 6JE, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

If you like cheese, Paxton & Whitfield is the name to know. The shop on Jermyn Street goes all the way back to 1797, but even that stems from a market stall set up in 1742. That’s 278 years of cheese mongering experience, and an absolutely mountain of cheese that’s passed through this shop’s doors. It even holds two Royal Warrants, one from the Prince of Wales and one from Her Maj herself. If it’s good enough for royalty, it’s good enough for us. Pop in for English and French cheeses and anything and everything you could imagine to accompany them, from the company’s absolutely banging chutneys and pickles to every kind of cracker under the sun. And your choice of cracker is almost as important as the cheese, you know.

JUMI

56 Newington Green, London N16 9PX, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

In a landscape of fancy French-focused cheese shops, head to Jumi in Newington Green for a Swiss selection. The family behind it have five generations of experience in making cheese, so they seriously know what they’re doing, with a focus from quality all the way from the milking of the cows to the delivery of the produce to customers. Emmental is the name you’ll probably know here – derived from the Emmental Valley in Switzerland, home to acres of green pasture and lots and lots and lots of cows. A name you might not know, though, is blue brain cheese, which is one of the shop’s specialities. Don’t panic! No brains were harmed in the making of this cheese: it’s a reference to the blue mould that grows on this particular variety, which ends up looking a bit like, yup, a brain. And guess what? It’s delicious.

BUCHANAN'S CHEESEMONGER

5A Porchester Pl, St George's Fields, London W2 2BS, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Rhuaridh Buchanan passed up the chance to work at Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York, choosing to train as an affineur with historic British cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield instead. If that means anything to you, you’ll know it’s a big deal. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, well, it’s a big deal. Keller’s loss is our gain, as we’ve got Buchanan’s Cheesemonger cheese shop here, the place to purchase fine cheeses and other dairy items, as well as eggs, freshly sliced charcuterie, bread from Gail’s Bakery and fresh fruit and veg from Natoora. The offering changes daily according to what’s ripe and at its best in the shop’s maturing rooms.

FUNK

142 Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Not content with having a cheese bar, a cheese conveyor belt restaurant and a cheese barge, the Cheese Bar team has opened Funk, a cheese shop and bottle shop on Columbia Road. You’d better brie-lieve it. It’s stocked with the best of British cheese, like Tunworth, Quickes Mature Cheddar, Baron Bigod and Village Maid cheese alongside Crown & Queue charcuterie, Rosebud Preserves, Miller’s Damsel Crackers, Kernel Brewery beers and low-intervention wines.

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