Image for blog - The Cheese Geek brings artisan cheese to the high street Image for blog - The Cheese Geek brings artisan cheese to the high street
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The Cheese Geek brings artisan cheese to the high street

Publisher - Great British Food Awards
published by

The Great British Food team

Jun 19, 2024
7 minutes to read

“We want to make specialist cheeses more accessible, to more people,” says Edward Hancock, the bespectacled foodie founder of The Cheese Geek which is rolling out a range of artisan cheeses, and a cheese selection box, in partnership with Sainsbury’s.

Initially to be available in 86 stores, with more to follow, Edward hopes the initiative will help more shoppers to fall in love with some of Britain’s best cheeses, from notable, ethical makers.

“The idea of The Cheese Geek has always been to make great cheese available to everyone,” Edward says. “We want to get it in front of as many people as possible.”

The specialist began working with Sainsbury’s last November, as the supermarket giant undergoes a recalibration, putting its focus on fresh food and whole ingredients. “It’s an overhaul from the top down. They’ve decided to put fresh food at the heart of the business again, and cheese can be a central part of that. It happened that their director of dairy was a Cheese Geek customer. She wanted The Cheese Geek on board as a brand to be offered as a ‘new start’ for customers at the cheese counter.”

The cheeseboard selection (£12.50), is designed as an entry point into the range, folding out into a tasting plate, with a pair of pop-out cardboard specs, tasting notes, and a QR code encouraging cheese lovers to rate their favourites which, in turn, will provide them with suggestions of the next cheese they might want to pop in their basket.

“That’s got all the classics in it,” says Edward. “A Cheddar, a Brie and a Blue.” Each has been carefully selected personally by him. “The Mature Cheddar is made by Quicke’s. I go down and taste different batches with them. They have six cultures they rotate, and I taste for the profile I’m looking for, and batch select. In terms of profile, our Cheddar won’t be the same as anywhere else.

“The Buttery Brie is from Village Maid. It’s their Waterloo Cheese. A washed curd, Guernsey milk cheese. It’s buttery, not too earthy, and decadently soft.

“Then the Session Blue is Cornish Blue, but made to their original World Cheese Awards Gold-winning recipe, with animal rennet, which gives it that oniony, brothiness and meatiness. It takes it to another level. They’re making this exclusively for us, because they switched to using vegetarian rennet a few years ago for this cheese. It isn’t available anywhere else.”

The single-pack cheeses range from £4 to £6 and include a Gouda from Bath Soft, made solely for The Cheese Geek, a Red Leicester from Quicke’s, a Bloomy Soft from Caws Cenarth, and an Alpine style (King Stone Dairy’s Ashcombe).

“That cheese has won all sorts of awards,” Edward explains. “And as a producer, he’s never sold into a multiple before. For me, that’s a really important cheese. It just shows the credibility of this range.”

Edward hopes sampling these cheeses will ignite a whole new movement for artisan and speciality varieties, while giving shoppers confidence. “Generally, if you want to buy these cheeses you have to go to a cheesemonger or order from people like us,” he explains. “This is a new entry point to try some of the most exciting cheeses in the UK. There isn’t anywhere else you can have the opportunity to taste at this price and also have the story and background and knowledge behind each product. They are genuinely curated and picked to ‘wow’ people.”

Find The Cheese Geek in selected Sainsbury’s stores now.

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