Say cheese! Is this cheese shop the best in the country?
PUBLISHED: 11:05 19 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:32 19 January 2019
A Suffolk cheese shop could be in line for a slice of success after being shortlisted for a major national award.
Slate, an independent cheese shop in Southwold, has been named as finalist in the Guild of Fine Food’s 2019 Specialist Cheese Shop of the Year Awards.
A total of 45 retailers were named as finalists, with Slate being the only store representing Suffolk.
The store is run by father and daughter duo John Ormerod and Clare Jackson, who launched Slate back in 2017.
Last year Slate’s Aldeburgh store was named as a finalist but Ms Jackson hopes that Slate can bring home a prize this time.
She said: “We are very excited to be finalists for the second year in a row. It would be so nice to win. We all have our fingers crossed.
“Me and my dad set up Slate only 18 months ago. We don’t have a background in cheese or retail but we are passionate about it.
“We used to holiday in Suffolk but I moved up to Woodbridge two years ago and needed a new project so after a dinner party conversation, we went for it.”
Having already had their written entries reviewed by a panel of industry experts, Slate will now face two further rounds of judging.
These include an announced visit from one of the judges and a mystery shop carried out by customer experience experts Insight6.
Ms Jackson said: “I’m excited about that. We’ve been trying to spot the mystery shopper and we know that the judge has to be a cheese lover.
“The customer feedback we have had is that our excitement and enthusiasm for cheese really comes across to them.
“We believe that shopping should be an experience, getting to know the cheese, trying it and enjoying it before you buy.”
Slate will be scrutinised by judges Edward Berry of The Flying Fork, Stuart Gates, senior buyer at Harrods, award-winning retailer Tracey Colley and food writer Patrick McGuigan.
A winner for each category will be then be agreed.
The awards will take place on Monday, March 11 when the winners from each category will be announced.