If you are the type of person who is partial to the odd cheese and wine night, could not comprehend Christmas without at least three different varieties, and would choose a sumptuous cheeseboard over a sugary dessert any day of the week, then we would hazard a guess you fancy yourself as something of a cheese connoisseur. If you are looking for something a little more exciting to sink your teeth into than the average supermarket selection, perhaps it is time to venture into the world of the artisan cheese.
Exploring the wares of a specialist cheese shop will open your eyes to delicious varieties of cheese you might not yet have encountered, as well as bring you face-to-face with knowledgeable experts that will be able to answer all your cheese-centric questions.
As luck would have it, beautiful Bath has long been a centre for independent retailers of artisan produce. For those who love to shop ‘til they drop, it is one of the most appealing characteristics of the city. So, whether you have a soft spot for Stilton or a craving for Camembert, here are some of the best places to buy cheese in Bath so you can get your foodie fix.
One of the best-known names in Bath, The Fine Cheese Co. often sees queues stretching out of the door, particularly in the run up to the festive season – so, don’t leave it too late! Owned and run by Ann-Marie Dyas, a judge at both the British and World Cheese Awards, The Fine Cheese Co. has been in business for the past two decades, taking pride in its ardent support of the cream of the British cheese-maker crop. However, you will also find imported artisan cheeses from Spain, France, Italy and Holland showcased in this Aladdin’s cave of dairy produce.
Head out to the north-west of Bath and you will arrive in Kelston, home to Park Farm and the Bath Soft Cheese Co. Here you will find a selection of highly sought after organic cheeses including the award-winning Bath Soft, a cheese which can trace its roots back to at least 1808 where it was recommended in a letter to Admiral Lord Nelson. If this tasty specimen wasn’t enough, the farm produces a selection of other cheeses, from the Bath Soft to the Bath Blue – we are sure that somewhere here there is a soft cheese with your name on it.
This third generation dairy farm offers tours where you can find out more about the cheese-making process and get acquainted with the herd of black and white cows that call the land home. Call ahead to book in advance. All the cheeses are either made or matured on site – produce doesn’t get much more local than that.
If part of Bath’s charm for you lies in the long and rich history it boasts, you might want to pay a visit to Nibbles Cheese Shop seeing as they hold the title of Bath’s oldest cheesemongers. Although they cannot profess to have been around since Roman times, they have been in business for over 35 years; so, it is safe to say they have learned a thing or two about cheese in their time.
Their convenient location, right in the heart of Bath, makes Nibbles Cheese a firm favourite amongst local residents and tourists alike. Specialising in high quality local and international cheeses, the business has also grown to provide the ultimate luxury – a delivery service which drops your cheese right at your door. It’s like Christmas has come early.
Talking of Christmas, Paxton and Whitfield, the last cheesemongers on our list, are something of a one-stop shop for your festive cheeseboards and gift-giving needs. Holding the illustrious title of Britain’s leading cheesemonger for over 200 years, the famous company has made its name sourcing and maturing exceptional cheeses. As well as top quality cheeses, Paxton and Whitfield offer a creative selection of hampers to suit a range of budgets as well as the opportunity to put together your own personal cheeseboard. You can even buy yourself a cheese wedding cake, were you so inclined.
If you are a fan of fresh, quality produce at a fair price (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) then head down to Green Park Station. Every Saturday, from 9am – 1.30pm, you’ll find a plethora of cheese (amongst other delights such as cakes, pies, meat, coffee and chocolate), sold directly from the clever people who make them. Expect to find award-winning local cheese, including goats, ewe and cheddar, from the likes of Worthy Farm Cheese, Westcombe/Sleight Farm Cheeses, Homewood Cheeses, and the aforementioned Bath Soft Cheese Co.
And while we’re on the subject of markets, let’s not forget the eagerly awaited Bath Christmas Market, which kicks off this year on 24th November and will see Snowdonia Cheese, Godminster and Paxton and Whitfield showcase some of the finest fromage around.
Of course, those who worship at the altar of cheese will know that a nice glass of vino sets a cheeseboard off nicely. Why not investigate the top wine experiences in Bath to pair yours to perfection?