Cheese is a contentious issue for the British. Long overlooked as a cheesemaking nation while our French neighbours basked in the glory of their regional specialities being celebrated across the world, a little cheesy resentment has rumbled in the past. The tables haven’t exactly turned, but the scales are certainly more balanced. London now boasts some world class cheesemongers, with as good and varied a mix as you can find anywhere across the Channel.
Neal’s Yard Dairy
The Neal’s Yard shop in Borough Market is little short of a shrine to cheese. It’s the work of Rudolf Hodgson, who has made it his mission to bring cheese from the British Isles back to the fore. He built up the dairy in Suffolk and the single shop in Covent Garden into four retail outlets and a wholesaling operation, stocking many of the best restaurants in the city. Giant wheels of cheese piled onto rustic wooden shelves has become Neal’s Yard Dairy’s signature look. And the staff strongly encourage sampling lots of their cheeses before you buy any.
6 Park Street, London SE1 9AB
Nearest tube: London Bridge
A Qbic local, Spitalfields Market houses one of London’s best cheese shops, Androuet. Established in Paris over a hundred years ago it specialises in little known French cheeses and classic fondue and raclette. Androuet also sells English cheddars, Italian mozzarellas, charcuterie and wine. The changing seasonal cheeses are always a fail safe choice if you can’t choose, and their Comté 18 months is a winning favourite.
Old Spitalfields Market, 107b Commercial Street, London E1 6BG
Nearest tube: Liverpool Street
This fromagerie serves the well-heeled Marylebone locals with farmhouse cheeses and is a wonderful spot for a French style breakfast or lunch a stone’s throw from the busy shops around the West End of London. La Fromagerie welcomes its customers with rustic baskets well-sourced seasonal fruit and vegetables, and as you walk in the shelves heave with homemade jams and chutneys, fresh breads, biscuits, cakes, olive oils, vinegars and dry store ingredients. North London’s curd loverscan get theirkicks from the sister shop in Barnsbury.
2-6 Moxon Street, London W1U 4EW
Nearest Tube: Regent’s Park
Rippon Cheese in Victoria is a long-standing establishment in Victoria, not far from the Tate Britain gallery. It has been serving the local residents, restaurants and delicatessens for over 25 years. In its retail outlet Rippon stocks up to 500 different cheeses from across Europe, the majority of which come from Great Britain & France. To accompany their fine range of cheese they sell biscuits, pickles, jams and a range of cheese accessories.
26 Upper Tachbrook Street, London SW1V 1SW
Nearest tube: Victoria
The East London Cheese Board
The East London Cheese board began life with a few social media-minded cheese enthusiasts in Walthamstow. Adopting the hashtag #cheese17 (named after the area’s postcode), Walthamstow residents started discussing cheese over Twitter. The enthusiasm this garnered gave the #cheese17 originators the idea of starting up a shop and market stall. The East London Cheese Board is now Walthamstow’s first cheese shop, a glorious story of the power of social media.
37 Orford Road, Walthamstow, London
Nearest tube: Walthamstow Central