Frequently Asked Questions
‣ What makes The Fine Cheese Co. unique?
We select and mature traditionally-made artisan cheeses from independent producers who prioritise quality over profit. For over thirty years we have nurtured and supported the cream of British cheesemakers, and we played an integral role in the revival of traditional British cheesemaking in the early 1990s. We produce our own range of Partners for Cheese, and our cheese and partners are supplied to hundreds of UK retailers and exported to over 50 countries world-wide.
‣ Where is The Fine Cheese Co. located, and what is the history of the location?
We are based in the heart of the West Country, the home of Cheddar. We are fortunate to count some of Britain's greatest cheesemakers among our closest neighbours: Westcombe Dairy, Keen's Cheddar and The Bath Soft Cheese Co. to name just three. Our original shop is based In Bath. A world-heritage site, the city of Bath is famed for its beautiful Georgian architecture, and rich cultural history.
‣ Who are the founders of The Fine Cheese Co.?
We were founded in 1990 by Ann-Marie Dyas, a renowned judge at both the British and World Cheese Awards and winner of the Guild of Fine Food Lifetime Achievement Award. Ann-Marie was committed to the survival and growth of traditional cheesemaking and to introducing and sharing farmhouse cheeses, as well as the stories behind them, to as wide a public as possible.
‣ What is the mission of The Fine Cheese Co.'s two retail locations?
Ann-Marie wanted everyone to feel passionate about cheese, and not to feel that they needed a PhD in cheese to shop with us. Our standards may be the highest, but our shops are neighbourhood fixtures with open doors, and they cater to ease and comfort as much as refinement. So you will find our cheesemongers to be knowledgeable and welcoming, as we seek to offer a congenial atmosphere for the uninitiated, and to be a reliable resource for the discerning.
Our Bath and Belgravia shops offer us the greatest chance to share the cheeses, and the stories behind them, directly with our customers. Our Michelin-starred chefs also create fresh dishes daily, using high-quality ingredients from producers who share our beliefs, so that we may provide a broader experience of high quality food made with skill and care.
‣ What are the company's values?
Ann-Marie's mission was:
“To seek out the best, and, when it’s been found, to keep looking”.
This same tireless pursuit of excellence is the core value across the company.
From the producers we choose to work with to the coffee we serve in our café, we want to give the best possible experience, while continuing to find ways to improve upon it.
‣ What types of cheesemakers do you represent for your export business?
We work with British cheesemakers making a wide range of different cheeses, but they share a number of commonalities. Our cheesemakers are invariably small independent producers who make their cheeses in a traditional manner. Their approach to cheesemaking is a holistic one: the terroir, animal welfare, milk quality, recipe refinement and cheese maturation are all afforded equal care and attention. We have close ties with our cheesemakers and visit farms weekly, giving us the opportunity to see their methods up close. It is their attention to detail that results in their ability to produce such remarkable cheeses.
‣ What is the history of Artisan Biscuits and what ranges of crackers do you offer?
We started out as a family bakery in the Derbyshire Peak District back in the early 1930s. Since then we’ve grown in a gradual almost organic way. Although much has changed around us, the way we bake has not. For our sweet biscuits, we use the same rollers we always have, and sift, weigh, mix and work the dough in the same old-fashioned way. In all our ranges, we only use high quality, natural ingredients. The butter we use is churned in England, the flour is milled with no additives, and the clotted cream comes from the West Country.
We offer high quality versions of well-loved British biscuits, but we have also created a host of new ranges that are loved appreciated around the world by grown-ups and children alike. In 2007, we became the sister company of The Fine Cheese Co. There are few partnerships as harmonious as cheese and biscuits.
‣ Do you offer other products in your stores or on your website?
Our shops and our website offer the finest British and European artisan cheeses, charcuterie, chocolates, crackers and condiments. We refer to these as our ‘Five Cs’, but we also stock our favourite fine foods from 30 years of searching, including Serrats’ fish (from another ‘C’ of sorts), wines and spirits, sweet treats, fine food gifts and more besides. Everything we sell is in keeping with what Ann-Marie chose. She may no longer be with us, but her unparalleled taste lives on.
‣ How are you active in your community?
At the start of each calendar year, the Directors of The Fine Cheese Co. and Artisan Biscuits will select our preferred charities to support.
Although it is not a requirement that a cause meets all the criteria listed below, our previous donations have been in line with the following principles:
• Causes related to Bath or Ashbourne, and the surrounding communities
• Causes related to food poverty
• Causes related to those who have physical or mental difficulties, to help them in their life-time.
We would, of course, like to be able to donate to all of the worthy charities and causes that contact us, but the high demand inevitably means we must limit our donations to the types of charity we have chosen to support.
‣ What are your environmental policies?
Artisan Biscuits and The Fine Cheese Co. follow a joint environmental policy to minimise packaging and food waste in their respective supply chains. Specific measures include:
- Exclusively using sustainably sourced and recyclable cardboard packaging.
- Exclusively using biodegradable packaging pellets made from corn starch.
- Arranging local collections and deliveries to reduce use of packaging.
- Arranging regular collections of recyclable waste.
- Putting unavoidable food waste to good use through local charities.
So that Artisan Biscuits and The Fine Cheese Co. may limit their impact upon the environment even further, both companies are:
- Taking steps to replace plastic inner trays with recyclable card trays.
- Investigating how plastic film can be suitably replaced with a recyclable or compostable alternative.
- Distributing their environmental policy and aims to staff throughout both organisations.
‣ If I order now, when will my parcel arrive?
If you order with us before noon, Monday to Thursday, we are able to arrange for your parcel to arrive on the following day (except to certain postcodes in Scotland). Our mail-order department is not available at the weekends, but our shops are open. Please see our shops’ website for further information.
‣ Can I order now for a delivery date in the future?
Yes. We have a calendar feature on our checkout page that enables you to select a delivery date of your choosing.
‣ How will my parcel arrive?
All of our boxes are packaged in our The Fine Cheese Co.- branded boxes. These are brown boxes, with our logo and cheese illustrations. Instructions are printed on the box too, where we advise you to refrigerate your products as soon as you are able.
You can also choose our gift-wrap option, which is £3.95, and your parcel will arrive in a blue and white, John Broadley-illustrated box with a The Fine Cheese Co. ribbon wrapped around the parcel. (Your gift box is placed in a waterproof bag for protection during transit, with a sticker on top, advising you to refrigerate the cheese on arrival.)
‣ Where do you deliver and how?
We deliver to mainland UK addresses using our third-party courier service, DPD. If you provide a mobile number, DPD will send you a text message advising you of an estimated arrival time for your package.