If you’ve enjoyed our cheese platter then you’ll want to get to know the supplier behind our fabulous selection of seasonal cheeses… Eric Charriaux, co-founder of Premier Cheese (with Amnon Paldi), is one of the most celebrated cheese experts around, acting as both supplier and retailer through their famed cheese shop, La Cave à Fromage.
Eric, Amnon and their dedicated team, including The Bull’s allocated maître de fromage, Howard Percy, make it their business to find the very best of French and English cheese and have worked with many of the UK’s top artisanal cheese producers and award-winning restaurants, such as Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons.
Tell us a bit about Premier Cheese
Premier Cheese is now 20 years old! Our passion for beautiful cheese and artisan products is still growing, along with our customers’ enthusiasm. The business started with Amnon (Paldi) and Eric (Charriaux), who wanted to bring into restaurants artisan cheese with flavours, and proper flavours. Ripe and ready to be savoured.
Who are your biggest customers?
Part of our success is a balanced range of products, and a balanced range of customers, some with Michelin stars, most without, but all have in common a quest for quality. Our retail division La Cave a Fromage operates two shops, in Hove and London.
Where do you source your cheeses?
All our products are bought directly from producers; we know all of them face to face, quite a few of them have been supplying us for 20 years. We know their ethos, methods, cattle, sometimes we know the entire family. Once a year, we organise in April the Cheese Makers Market in Beaconsfield, where we invite cheese producers to showcase and sale their cheese, always a popular time. This year will be on April 13th.
What are traditionally the most popular cheeses, and what are the cheeses of the moment?
We have recently seen a shift from local cheese to seasonal cheese, which is great because it allows us to introduce a wider choice and wider textures and flavours
So, cheeses are seasonal?
Oh yes most definitely! Cheese is milk, and milk is farming; so in winter when pastures are short, animals are fed with various natural alternative feeds, giving milks a very different flavour. Spring is a fantastic time for soft, fresh cheeses as the new spring grass gives incredible flavour.
How do you judge a good cheese?
It reflects its cheesemakers.
Do you eat cheese yourself or do you avoid it out of work?!
You would think that eating cheese every working day would get you to a point of needing a break, but I haven’t got there yet. I don’t really have a sweet tooth, so at the end of a meal it’s a no-brainer!
What do you love most about your business?
Being from a background in hospitality it’s great that I am still involved with the industry in a different way. I am also able to build long-term relationships and really get to know my customers.
How did you come across The Bull Inn and what do you think about the business?
Tommy (Pring) has been a customer of mine for a number of years in various establishments and I was really interested when he told me about The Bull. I love that fact the community has come together to create a proper local pub.
Does Tommy know his cheese?!
Absolutely. Over the years we have sampled a huge amount together and he isn’t afraid to tell me if he’s not keen.
Head to our food page to see our desserts and cheese menu.
For more info about Premier Cheese, go to http://la-cave.co.uk or www.cheese.biz.