Slate Cheese & Provisions

Slate Cheese & Provisions

I’m a big cheese fan. When I’m hungry I’d rather have a cheese and a pear than a chocolate bar or crisps. So when I was recently asked if I’d like to try a cheese box from Slate Cheese & Provisions I jumped at the chance.

My box arrived with the cheese inside in a cool bag containing three beautiful cheeses: Celtic Promise, Cashel Blue & Bosworth Ash. The cheese was accompanied by a box of crackers, a small jar of chutney and a set of tasting notes. It didn’t take me long to unpack the goodies and sit them on a board to warm up to room temperature. The aroma from the cheese was amazing so we couldn’t wait to tuck in.

My favourite was the beautifully tangy Cashel Blue which was perfect with a slightly sweeter cracker. The savoury goat’s cheese, Bosworth Ash was sublime with both a thick and gooey texture. For me, the Celtic Promise was more suited to eating with a piece of fruit such as a pear or fig; my husband on the other hand was all for piling thin slices on top of a cracker.

Having enjoyed every morsel I got in touch with the owners to find out more about Slate. Here’s what co-owner  Clare Jackson told me.

“Slate is a specialist cheese retailer with two shops on the Suffolk coast, bursting with the finest artisan cheeses from the very best British and European cheese makers. We also sell cheese online at www.slatecheese.co.uk. We are passionate about cheese, especially those produced locally here in East Anglia.

We set up the business in November 2017 following my move the previous year to live in Suffolk with my husband and our three sons. Prior to that we lived in Highgate, just round the corner from my parents, visiting Suffolk at weekends and holidays. They have had a house in Suffolk for the last 35 years.

My Dad and I are both accountants and prior to Slate had no retail experience so this has been an exciting venture for us, learning to run the shops and exploring the world of cheese. Last week we were thrilled to win a national award “Best Newcomer” in the Guild of Fine Food “Shop of the Year” competition (https://gff.co.uk/uks-independent-food-retailers-crowned-at-shop-of-the-year-2019/).

Our online shop was launched in November 2018. We deliver cheese by overnight courier within mainland UK. Our website is designed to offer lots of cheese tasting notes and share tips from our team, as if you were visiting one of our Slate shops. We champion local produce with a menu of East Anglian cheeses and offer a number of mouth-watering cheese selections and gift hampers.

In both our Southwold and Aldeburgh shops we have a magnificent “wall of cheese” which we hope tempts customers to enjoy their favourite cheeses and discover some new ones. Our staff are friendly and knowledgeable.  They have all received specialist cheese training and aim to share their enthusiasm for cheese with every customer offering tasters; sharing information about where and how the cheeses are made; and helping to create fabulous cheeseboard selections. Alongside our cheese we have a fantastic range of cheese accompaniments and can offer pairing advice for crackers, chutneys, nuts and preserves.

It is our aim at Slate to share the excitement we have for cheese.  Each month we showcase a “cheese of the month” which is new, tasting great or recently award-winning.  We post regular journal articles on our website to share news of team visits to local cheese makers and other gems of cheese-related information!

We also have our Slate Cheese Club. Members receive a monthly box of three carefully selected cheeses with complementary crackers and full tasting notes. Membership of our Cheese Club makes the perfect gift for tricky-to-buy for food lovers. Alternatively, join to ensure a perfectly curated selection of cheese in great condition arrives at your own door each month for you to enjoy old favourites and discover new artisan cheeses. Membership starts at £75 for three boxes which can be delivered monthly or bi-monthly for three or six months.”

Aldeburgh and Southwold are both beautiful places to visit and give you a great excuse to pop into a Slate shop. If you’re not heading that way soon but fancy some delicious cheese, the subscription option is a lovely treat whether you dabble occasionally or are the Grande Camembert of cheese eatery!

For more information visit www.slatecheese.co.uk or email saycheese

You’ll be nuts about WALNUT

You’ll be nuts about WALNUT

Stroud Green is a-changing, mainly due to the fabulous selection independent shops that have taken up position. Walking down the Stroud Green Road is a completely different experience to when I used to commute into the City; back then it was more a case of “eyes down and walk quickly” but now the ambiance is one of meandering and looking. I could feel the positive vibe as we walked down to try out WALNUT, a new restaurant that has transformed a dark, empty unit at the end of the John Jones Building, into a scene of foodie brilliance.

Me, myself & I also known as Bex, Al & Monty went along to sample brunch on a wonderfully sunny morning. The menu was short and sweet but with such a great selection it was still difficult to choose. Eventually decisions were made and Al picked home-made fish finger sandwich with tartare sauce and rocket which nestled in toasted sourdough and came with a side of WALNUT slaw. The fish-fingers are made with hake that comes fresh from her St Ives based fishmonger, Celtic Fish and Game, a family run business who use day boats for their supplies and courier into London five days a week. Hake has a delicate flavour which could have easily been overwhelmed but it came sparkling through with each bite. Monty plumped for the stack of pancakes with Dingley Dell bacon and maple syrup on the side. He declared the pancakes were “the best I’ve eaten” which was a sock in the eye for his chef-dad! I opted for the Chuck & Rib Cheeseburger with WALNUT slaw. The burger, made by an Essex based butcher who sources his beef from Dedham Vale, was seasoned well, lovingly cooked and rested before serving, ensuring that it was juicy and tender to the bite. As I am partial to a dollop of mayo the WALNUT slaw was sharper than I would choose, however my Parmesan and truffle chips were delicious and I had to smack a lot of hands away to stop my pile from diminishing! After a short rest, we finished off by sharing a yummy piece of (gluten free) dark chocolate brownie that was suitably gooey with a crispy top.

WALNUT is run by chef-owner is Emma Duggan who lives just up the road with her partner and Sid the Boxer. Emma has been cooking for 25 years and has worked alongside Gordon Ramsay, Angela Hartnett and Oliver Peyton. She describes her food as “Good, simple and seasonal” and it that’s exactly what it is. WALNUT is open for breakfast and lunch and offers eat-in or take-out. In the evening the café becomes a cosy dining room with a more traditional three-course menu.

With prices ranging from a fiver to the teens, there’s a lot of good grub for your money and it comes with a warm welcome and a massive dollop of fantastic service from Emma and her team!

WALNUT

The Arts Building, Morris Place
Finsbury Park N4 3JG
020 7263 5289

https://walnutdining.co.uk

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Enfield Food Festival seeks foodies

Enfield Food Festival seeks foodies

The Enfield Food Festival is a rapidly growing annual event. It takes place on a working organic farm in North London that boasts an orchard, market garden, the award winning Forty Hall Vineyard and woodland where there’ll be walks, small group workshops, plus talks and cooking demos on the main stage and outdoor cooking in the vineyard or woodland.

Plenty of creative locations and ways of sharing your skills!

The Date: Bank Holiday 26 and 27 August

If you’d like to be involved please contact Emma : hello@thefoodgatherer.com for a chat.