Vendor Spotlight: Cheezelo
Cheezelo was created in 2016 by Eleonore, a French national raised in the famous Camembert region of Normandy, now living and working in London. Her independent shop, located between King's Cross and Euston stations, brings beautiful, regional cheese platters, charcuterie, deli products, and fine wines to her lucky customers.
You made a big jump from working in IT services to opening a cheese shop. What drove that decision?
Well, I worked around ten years in IT services for corporate organisations, and I was just a bit fed up of the office world, and that kind of 9-to-5 job. I wanted to start a cheese-related business because I've always loved cheese and receiving people, preparing food. I've been living in the UK for more than fifteen years now, and I’d always missed being able to find nice cheeses here, so I thought, why not do it myself?
"I've always loved cheese and receiving people, preparing food"
The idea first started with making cheese platters and delivering them to people so that they could enjoy nice, fine foods at home and share it with friends and family. I got started on a business plan and quit my job, then found a commercial kitchen in East London and worked out of there, selling online and at farmers’ markets, until I was able to find a shop. Eventually I found a space near Euston and King’s Cross, and it’s been three years since I opened the shop. So here I am in my shop, providing cheese to London and nation-wide.
Where does your passion for cheese stem from?
I’ve loved cheese ever since I was a kid – I grew up in a family where we always had a nice selection of cheeses in the fridge, and we would have cheeses with lunch and dinner. I’m also much more of a savoury person than a sweet person; in high school my friends would go to the bakery to get a croissant before class, I would go to the cheese shop and get some cheese.
Cheese has always been one of my favourite foods. My grandparents also had a farm with a lot of cattle and when my uncle and aunt took over, they started to make cheese and cream. And being from the countryside originally, being closer to the product, it’s amazing to see the start to end process of making products. I love meeting the producers and learning about how the cheese is made, sharing in their experience and passion, and then passing that on to our customers at the shop.
You also developed your own vegan cheeses. What was that process like?
Initially the idea of making vegan cheese came to me because one of my friends is dairy-intolerant. We would get together and she wouldn’t be able to share a cheese platter with us, so I started to look for some recipes on how to make your own vegan cheeses, and now I have a small range of five different vegan cheeses. I also think it’s good to propose alternatives for vegan and non-dairy customers. I like to have options for everyone: for people in the sitting area of my shop I sell cheese platters and sandwiches, and wine, so even if you don’t like cheese you can still sit and have a nice drink. It’s just about sharing nice food and having a good time with your friends.
"I developed a small range of five different vegan cheeses"
And you’ve decorated your shop to look like a beautiful French bistro. For those not familiar with bistros, can you explain their importance in French culture?
It’s a big part of the French culture. We spend a lot of time in bars and in bistros, sharing a small platter and having a drink, or having a snack. It’s an important part of socialising and relaxing. Most bistros are small and really cosy, and feels so warm that strangers will just chat to each other. It just has a really nice atmosphere.
And lastly, what’s your favourite cheese?
I love all cheeses! I like Mimolette, which hard, nutty, with a bright orange colour. I also really like Comté cheese, and Gruyère. My favourite cheeses are the mature one, over 12 months old; it’s too difficult to have just one favourite cheese. And also, anything like a soft goat cheese is a winner. I love white wine so it goes very nicely with a goat cheese. When I organise cheese and wine experience class at the shop, goat cheese will always be part of the experience.
Learn more about Cheezelo here.