Cheese master brings tasters to Richmond store
When you first walk into the Teddington Cheese store in Hill Rise, Richmond, the impressive high-rise fridges full of continental and English cheeses of varying shapes, colours and sizes make themselves known to their visitors.
My eyes dart over the racks of the 140 different cheeses, sourced by shop owner Tony Chuck from all over Europe.
“I want to show people the whole spectrum of cheeses around the world,” says Tony, who has managed the shop for eight years.
The shelves are stacked with biscuits and chutneys, and with wine standing proudly against the back wall, Teddington Cheese has all the ingredients for a perfect cheese and wine evening.
After the spectacle of cheeses is acknowledged, the vague chill of the store is apparent. “You might want to keep your jacket on, it’s a little chilly in here,” chuckles Tony, who has introduced cheese master classes in response to customer demand.
“The master classes are once a month in the shop with wine,” says Tony, who also has a shop in Station Road, Teddington, as the name suggests.
The classes will run on the third Thursday of every month at the Richmond shop and there is space for 10 people to take part.
Cheese enthusiasts are invited to the store to taste a selection of cheeses and drink wine, enabling them to learn about cheese in an informal setting for about two hours.
Red, white and sweet dessert wines are on offer so people can learn about the best pairings with the cheese.
Tony says they start off having some wine and a chat, then attendees will learn about the different sized cheese.
“Then we give them large and small cheeses, to show them how they develop,” says Tony, as he cuts off a slice of Langres, a round cows’ milk cheese from France.
The cheese, from the Champagne region, has a pungent aroma and is soft and creamy inside. He then cuts a slice from the same cheese which is triple the size and the difference in taste is astonishing.
He says: “You see, the large cheeses have a more intense flavour because it matures better.
“Then we teach them about cheeses made from different milks.”
He passes me a slice of Capria, a cheese made from goats’ milk and sourced from Worcestershire.
“We are the only people in London who have got this,” says Tony. “Anyone can come in and try the cheese, they can try all 140 of them – they are learning all of the time.”
It is clear Tony is a very accommodating host, and his expert knowledge will ensure attendees to the classes will be filled with a cheese knowledge overload when they are invited to design the perfect cheese board, which comes complete with cards featuring a small blurb about each cheese.
So what is the cheese master's favourite selection?
“My taste will change,” says Tony, who eats a piece of parmesan every day for breakfast. “But I suppose I will stick with cirone – it is a hard three-and-a-half year old cheese.”
A strong blue cheese finishes off the master class, which cost £35 and guests will receive a 10 per cent discount on any cheese they buy that evening.
With Tony’s knowledge and enthusiasm, a master class at Teddington Cheese will ensure you have the knowledge – and resources – to impress guests with a stunning cheese board while having an enjoyable evening.
And with 140 cheeses packed into the cosy shop – you’ll want to Edam all!
To book a class, visit teddingtoncheese.co.uk.