Take a look inside Suffolk’s newest deli

Eilir Rogers in the new deli Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Eilir Rogers in the new deli Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

MP Dan Poulter officially opened the business which specialises in over 50 types of cheese and homemade cakes, sausage rolls and Scotch eggs.

Suffolk MP Dan Poulter was at The Grundisburgh Dog last Thursday (August 20) giving his seal of approval to owners Eilir and Charles Rogers’ new deli.

The venture, which takes up half the restaurant space, was launched in lockdown in a bid to throw locals a lifeline, stocking hard-to-find essentials, from flour to sugar and yeast.

But it’s been so popular the couple have decided to make it a permanent fixture, selling picnic boxes, hampers, over 50 cheeses and accompaniments, sweet and savoury treats from the pub kitchen and a few quirky goodies from suppliers across the UK.

“When we started out, it really wasn’t a deli,” says Eilir. “We wanted to provide the community with a place to shop for staples – things they were struggling to get hold of so they didn’t have to go to the big supermarkets. Our supplier was still working, so we could access lots of fresh produce and thought – why not? As lockdown began to ease we found the sales of some things declined, while cheese and specialist items increased. We’ve just reacted to that demand and grown organically.”

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Eilir says walking into the deli space, bedecked with antique French and industrial furniture and shelving, smells delicious, especially on Saturday mornings when the chefs drop off their freshly baked baguettes and croissants to the counter.

“We want to be making as much of our own produce as possible. We bake giant sausage rolls, Scotch eggs, quiches, sweet things – Charles makes the most incredible salted caramel brownies. The chefs have just put a whole tub of homemade rhubarb and caramelised onion chutney on my desk made with rhubarb from my friend’s garden, and we’ve got strawberry jam made by another friend.”

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A part of the deli Eilir’s especially enamoured with is the cheese counter. She giggles as she talks about it because until lockdown, she’d been a vegan.

“People were coming in asking how the cheeses tasted,” she explains, “and I thought, I have to be able to tell them! So I tried them, little by little. And now, would you believe it, I’m starting a Cheese Academy course to become a Master of Cheese. I really like the artisan cheesemakers like Fen Farm for their Baron Bigod – high animal welfare is important to me. We’ve got a few classics, but lots of Suffolk and Norfolk varieties too, and we’re about to be supplied by Neal’s Yard Dairy. We have things like Norfolk White Lady, the Godminster smoked is amazing, Suffolk Gold and Blue, Binham Blue, Black Bomber, and smoked Northumberland. My list has about 52 different cheeses, so there’s something for everyone.”

Shelves brim with raw honey from Oakdene in Woodbridge, fish from Pinneys, Dingley Dell charcuterie, Suffolk beer and more. “We’ve got some obscure stuff you don’t usually find around here,” EIlir reveals. “We don’t want to be just another farm shop. “There’s The Uncommon wine (I love their branding), and grapefruit gin in a tin from East London Liquor. I think people appreciate the mix of local and a bit different. We have lots of Italian products, as an example, because we make our own pizzas at the pub. Pastas, sauces, olive oils, Italian pizza flour, tomatoes grown on the side of Mount Vesuvius.”

Hampers can be pre-ordered and picnic boxes (ideal for collecting on your way to a day out in the countryside) include a variety of items, from quiches and Scotch eggs to focaccia, hummus, olives and charcuterie, and start at £12.50 per head.

The deli is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm, with free parking behind the pub in its car park, or to the front when there’s space.

Stay up to date with the latest restaurant and pub openings, reviews and recipes from Suffolk, Join the Eat Suffolk Facebook group.

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