So Magazine November 2021

Page 36

Food & Drink

Besides cheese what else can we find in the shop? Cheese loves company, so we stock a wide range of wonderful accompaniments for your cheese board, almost all of which can’t be found in a supermarket. So small batch, handmade crackers and chutneys, locally made chocolate and the like, along with a selection of gift ideas, just perfect for your cheese lover’s Christmas gift! Do you have any recommendations as we head towards Christmas? First of all, come and help celebrate our first birthday on the December 1. Our opening last year in full lockdown was a fairly muted affair so this will be a chance to put that right! Secondly, look out for our range

of hampers, gift boxes and cheeseboard selections, all available to pre-order. What’s your favourite cheese at the moment? That’s the hardest question I get asked in the shop along with ‘what is your best cheese’! Lord London, by Alsop & Walker, is a great pick as we head towards Christmas. It not only looks great it’s a real centre piece for any celebration, tastes even better, and if baking is your thing, a la camembert, it is good at that too! How are you thanking TN card members for shopping locally? We are delighted to be a part of such a brilliant community; we currently offer 10% discount on our favourite cheese of the month. This November it’s Lord London from Alsop & Walker.

A cut above the rest... Every month the TN card founder Jess Gibson shines a spotlight on one our local independent businesses who are members of her shopping loyalty reward scheme. This month Jess talks to Jonathan Cook of The Cheese Shop on St John’s Road, which brings the best of our Kent and Sussex cheese to Tunbridge Wells

Jess Gibson Founder the TN Card

What led you to open the shop last year? My sister owns a cheese shop in Conwy, North Wales, and over the years there had been much discussion around why a town like Tunbridge Wells did not have a proper cheese shop! So the seed was duly sown . . . My redundancy was the impetus to change direction and fulfil my ambition, by opening a cheese shop. What were you doing before cheese? Prior to running my new business I had a 25-year career working in London media buying agencies, until I was made redundant during the first lockdown last year. Why did you choose to open in the St John's area? We have lived in St. John’s for nearly twenty years and so know

36 | November 2021 | SO Magazine

the area well. It’s a brilliant residential catchment, an increasingly thriving commercial community plus local parking is free and easy! How many cheese varieties do you stock and how do you select your range? We have over 50 brilliant artisan and farmhouse cheeses regularly in stock. The majority are British, including the best from local Kent and Sussex cheese makers, as well as broad selection of European favourites. Selection is a fluid combination of taking advice and inspiration from my brilliant suppliers and trade memberships such as The Specialist Cheesemakers Association as well as my own research. Then of course there’s our customers: for every cheese we stock, there are at least another dozen we are asked about!

ABOUT THE CHEESE SHOP LOCATION: 48b St John’s Road, Tunbridge Wells TN4 9NY VISIT FOR: Over 50 artisan and farmhouse cheeses plus accompaniments MEMBER REWARD: 10% off Lord London, Alsop & Walker Join the TN community for £20 a year and enjoy rewards at over 400 local independents at www.thetncard. com

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