Image above: The Parma Ham and Mozzarella Stand at Chiswick Cheese Market; photograph Lucinda MacPherson
Chiswick Cheese Market
Chiswick Cheese Market takes place on the third Sunday of every month in the Old Market Place, outside George IV pub in Chiswick High Rd. You will find around 20 stalls selling 90 or so different artisan cheeses.
Chiswick was originally known as Cheesewick. Chiswick was first recorded c.1000 as the Old English Ceswican meaning “Cheese Farm”; the riverside area of Duke’s Meadows is thought to have supported an annual cheese fair up until the 18th century’. (Source Gillian Clegg, Chiswick Past & Present).
The organisers of Chiswick Cheese Market, a group of local women who are all cooks, collectively known as Cookbook Kitchen, wanted to bring cheese “back home to Chiswick” when they opened the market in May 2021 and to make Chiswick a destination for locals and visitors across London and beyond.
They hope the market will not only help bring business to Chiswick High Rd but play a part in the revival of British cheese. Traders sell cheeses and provisions that go with cheese, such as Putney Chutney and Ealing Relish.
Images above: The Mellis Family from Scotland specialise in artisan, small producer Scottish cheeses
Lucinda MacPherson meets some of the stall holders
Lucinda MacPherson met some of the stall holders who came to the first Cheese Market. Making the journey from Scotland was IJ Mellis, a family run business specialising in artisan, small producer Scottish cheeses.
“Farmhouse cheese differs from mass-produced factory cheese because the milk comes from a single herd rather than several different sources,” explained Ian Mellis, their founder.
A couple of their cheeses have a distinct whiff of Scotch whiskey about them – Auld Reekie – for instance, is a cows milk cheese from Aberdeenshire which is smoked over whiskey barrel shavings; and the Isle of Mull Cheddar is made on the Scottish West Coast where the cows are fed on spent whiskey grains, giving it a signature fruity and tangy flavour.
Wine plays a part in the making of a Tomme from The French Comte, a London based cheese purveyor of mountain cheeses from the French Alps. Their Tomme de Jura made with raw milk, is matured for three months and washed twice a week with white wine imparting a unique, fruity flavour. The concentrated flavour of their Comté, which is matured for 36 to 42 months has won more medals than any other Comté at the Prestigious “Concours General Agricole” in Paris, and also a Super Gold medal at the world cheese awards.
Heritage Cheese, run by Enrico ( dubbed ‘King of cheese’ in Borough Market) brought Irish cheeses, which have been hard to get hold of post Brexit. This includes Ballyisk The Triple Rose made by the Wright family near Portadown. Their punishing schedule starts with them milking the cows at 5.30am, so that by 9.00 am their milk can be made into a buttery, rich, triple cream cheese with light citrus notes.
The Parma Ham and Mozzarella stand (pictured above, top) showcases products from some of the most sustainable food producers in Italy. Philip Crouch works directly with producers to source high-quality salume and cheeses .
Images above: La Latteria uses traditional Italian methods to produce their cheeses.
Closer to home, La Latteria make 17 different cheeses based on traditional Italian methods nearby in North Acton. They take the same traditional product then roll or add things to it resulting in Campagnola and Bocconcini balls, the Nodini knots, the little Ciliegine with and without gorgonzola, the Treccia (rope-shape), Burratina, Stracciatella, Scamorza, Ricotta, and Burrata, to name most of them. Their Burrata, originally from Puglia, gets its name from its creamy, buttery centre, “burro”, which means butter in Italian. It is made by encasing fresh shredded mozzarella fior di latte mixed with panna (a UHT specialty cream imported from Italy) in a classic mozzarella fior di latte shaped as a “purse”.
The Marlow Cheese Company brought, amongst others, handmade cheeses with names inspired by the Thames – Bisham, Regatta, and Father Thames, which sound perfect for picnics along the river.
Palace Culture make vegan “cheese”. But is it ‘cheese’? Perhaps not, but these guys are doing something extraordinary with plant based ingredients – ageing, smoking, rolling – processes used in making fine cheeses but adapting them to suit plant based recipes.
This enterprise started in the Parmigiani family kitchen in Crystal Palace when Mirko’s four year old son developed a dairy intolerance. Combining his love for flavour with a focus on health and sustainability, Mirko began making dairy free, nut-based cheeses using raw and local ingredients.
‘Cheese’ Le Bleu is their new batch, a young and creamy product, slightly picante with subtle notes of Roquefort and white wine.
Images above: Alex from Palace Culture left
Two new lock down businesses made their debut at the first market: The Ealing Relish Company and The Putney Chutney Food Co. The relish is produced by a local catering company which made the brave pivot during the pandemic to produce delicious relishes and chutneys.
Putney Chutney was the brain child of Lauren, an event planner and Al, a designer and photographer.
“We love cooking, so used our time during lockdown at home to make chutney. Our first flavour was Williams Pear and parsnip. We chose Williams pears for their sweet and highly juicy flesh which compliments the earthy flavour of the parsnips and the end result is a delicious textured chutney which can be enjoyed on and off the cheeseboard,” said Lauren.
They also have the more traditional combinations of sweet mango, and tomato chilli and aubergine.
Ewa cracking the giant Parmegiano Reggiano on the Bianca & Mora Stall; photograph Lucinda MacPherson
More than 5,500 people visited the first Chiswick Cheese Market in May 2021, with delighted vendors declaring it a sell out success.
It kicked off with dramatic aplomb as Ewa performed a ceremonial cracking of a giant Parmegiano Reggiano on the Bianca & Mora Stall watched by the Mayor of Hounslow who was made a gift of the freshly cut, award winning, parmesan. All 60 kilo of the massive Red Cow parmesan was sold. Indeed trade was so brisk all round, every single one of the cheese mongers reported record sales for the day.
What else is there to do in Chiswick?
See also: Top ten things to do in Chiswick
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