Voting has now opened for The Telegraph’s annual competition to find the best small shops in Britain. Last year more than 18,000 people voted for their favourite local businesses in ten categories, including food. The three shops with the highest numbers of nominations formed a shortlist, from which their panel of judges then selected the winners.
Chosen by Rose Prince,Telegraph Magazine food columnist, (pictured) the 2010 Best Food Shop winner was The Cheese Shop in Lincolnshire. Rose said:
“Paul Adams’s small specialist cheese shop is a deserving winner of our food category. Adams sells not only a wonderful product and offers a great service, but he has also triumphed in what is a very demanding zone of food retailing. To run a cheese shop is not just a matter of selling cheese; as an affineur Adams must make sure that the artisan farmhouse cheeses are in perfect condition before putting them on the counter. Each must be monitored according to its particular character, a job that demands expertise.
The Cheese Shop is in Louth, a Lincolnshire market town that has retained many of its independent food shops in spite of supermarket dominance. Adams inspires loyalty in his many devoted customers, who are delighted to be able to buy the best cheeses handmade in local dairies – Lincolnshire Poacher, Cote Hill Blue and Berkswell among them – as well as excellent Parmesan from Italy or an interesting cheese made in the Hebrides or the far reaches of Devon.
There is something of a mission going on here, too. Specialist cheese shops have played a significant part in the survival and revival of British artisan cheese, now a healthy sector of our food industry of which we can be proud, yet Adams goes a step further with online sales, backed by an informative, reliable website. I loved the charm of this cheese shop, the quality of what it sells and the friendliness of the staff – but also Adams’s enthusiasm for his venture.”
Runners-up: Little House of Cupcakes Lancashire and Countryman’s Choice Farm Shop Devon.
You can vote for your favourite food shop via this link http://www.telegraph.co.uk/promotions/8776059/Telegraph-Best-Small-Shops-in-Britain-Awards-2011.html.