Take, for example, Old Mr Skruttock’s blue-veined, log. Most people are surprised that it’s not blue at all, more a brown colour with a lumpy curd structure not unlike a poorly made bar of chocolate. In fact only last week someone visited our shop in the old quarter of the Millennium Business Park for Innovation and dropped their log right outside our door. Our specially trained staff of Innuit cheesemongers had their lab coats and visors off in a flash, but could not catch the woman in time to tell her how great Old Skruttock’s log is grilled and tossed into salad or grated on some fish.
Besides customer service we believe in getting the right product. Selection is vital. To this end we demand only the latest, up-to-date catalogues before we make any purchase. Selection is also part of getting to know your supplier, putting a face to the name, photographing it and keeping it on file. I can remember when I was a junior sales executive meeting my first supply-client in a lay-by off the old A30, I was so excited, he a little nervous and undernourished and after we convinced him there was no means of escape we got on like a house on fire, which was ironic as his house burned down soon after and he found himself cooling his heels at Her Majesty’s Pleasure before we could pay him for the eighteen wheels of his exquisite rabbit liver Cheddar he had in the bucket of his digger. We gave all his thirteen children a place to live and work for only a nominal fee – I mean, what are friends for.
So the next time you fancy some real cheese, pop down to your local chemist and try some Old Mother Scuzzbucket’s little goats’ milk cretins, or scoop up some of Brian Problem’s runny Brie-style cheese – Brian’s Runny Problem (not suitable for pregnant ladies, old people, young people, middle-aged people or small animals) and enjoy.
(I can’t lay claim to this particular masterpiece. It is the work of one Dominic Coyte, cheese legend, formerly of Neal’s Yard Dairy and now to be found selling Comte at the Borough Cheese Company in either Borough Market or the Maltby Street area. Dom, I salute you. This little piece of writing dashed off one afternoon is, for me, the gift that just keeps on giving.)