THE CHEESE LADY shortlisted in Shop of the Year 2018

The Guild of Fine Food’s annual Shop of the Year awards, an accreditation which recognises and promotes excellence in independent retail, has announced its shortlist for 2018 and The Cheese Lady in Haddington, East Lothian is among those in the running for the Best Specialist Cheese Shop award. Having had its written entry reviewed by a panel of respected industry experts, The Cheese Lady will now undergo two further rounds of judging this summer, including an announced visit from one of the judges and a mystery shop by Shopper’s Anonymous.

Previously forming part of the Great Taste accreditation scheme, Shop of the Year has evolved to apply an even more rigorous and robust judging process dedicated solely to retail. Celebrating delis, farm shops, cheesemongers and more, Shop of the Year offers independent retailers a chance to achieve a stamp of approval with real integrity, much like Great Taste does for food and drink products.

From the overall shopping experience and financial performance to staff training opportunities and environmental initiatives, the panel of highly experienced judges, which includes Edward Berry of The Flying Fork, Stuart Gates, who has worked for both Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, award-winning retailer Tracey Colley and Georgina Mason from Gonalston Farm Shop, will rate, score and feedback on every aspect of The Cheese Lady shop before agreeing on an overall category winner.

“I feel very honoured and pleased to have our shop shortlisted, especially since it is only 6 months old. The Cheese Lady shop is a labour of love and a family affair – it’s run by myself, my partner, and our 1-year-old daughter (who is mostly responsible for the “cutie” factor). Our main goal is to share our passion for farmhouse and artisan cheeses: we aim to educate our cheese loving customers on new and exciting cheeses and ignite a new interest in cheese in people who are not cheese lovers yet. Every time someone enters our shop we hope that they feel comfortable to explore our cheese selection at their own pace and get samples and recommendations if required. We have entered the competition because we would love to spread the word about our shop and share our passion for cheese with as wide an audience as possible. It would be absolutely fantastic to put our shop on the Great British “foodie” map, and to be recognised by the industry professionals would just be the icing on the cake!” Svetlana Kukharchuk, The Cheese Lady proprietor.

On Thursday 20 September, Shop of the Year 2018 will reach an exciting finale when the world of fine food gathers at No. 42 Southwark Street, the Guild of Fine Food’s London base, to find out the winners of Best Delicatessen; Best Farm Shop or Garden Centre with Food Hall; Best Grocer, Village or Community Shop; and Best Specialist Cheese Shop.