More market mongering madness

I think Ned is rather enjoying writing these weekly updates from Borough Market…..

Mwa ha ha ha a haha hahaa!

That is the laughter of evil geniuses, mad scientists and megalomaniac cheese mongers when they have had a MASSIVE week end and sold a MILLION TONS of cheese.

Well 19 actually, but that is very good! Oops, one more exclamation mark and I will be on the FBI watch list…

On Friday we sold 8.5, another record day; and 11 on Saturday, which is one off our previous record. Although as some of the September cheeses were girt big hefty things, we actually sold 7 kilos more than last week.

A question for M & K: How come some cheeses are so much larger? Is it more solids in the milk or are you just feeling a bit more bountiful?

So the market was very busy, at least in the Green Market where we are. Also people were buying nice big pieces. Imo sold a quarter on Friday, and Joby sold a whole midi on Saturday. We also sold a lot of ‘heroic’ ie over £10 pieces. Which was nice.

I am thinking of a classification system for sizes of piece:

‘Noble’ – over £6

‘Heroic’ – over £10

‘Baronial’ – over £15

‘Kingly’ – over £20

‘Imperial’ – over £30

‘Oh my god that’s huge’ – over £50

‘Yeoman’ – £4-5

‘Widow’s mite” – £2.50 and under.

Any suggestions? Clearly I don’t get out enough…

We had a rather odd experience when we opened a box of midi cheeses on Saturday morning. Four of them were a bright orange colour, had sticky rinds and smelled rather pungent. So I chucked them away because they had obviously gone bad.

Ahaha, it is my little joke. Actually they were GWR’s (Gorwydd Washed Rinds,) a different cheese. They were beautiful cheeses, unctuous and creamy by the rind with a funky, slightly bacony flavour. They were very popular and sold out quickly.

It was a bit of a novelty for our regular customers who are used to us selling only one cheese, and to us for the same reason. It’s funny to find yourself doing a new patter – getting people to compare the two and explaining about the different make process for these.

I think the added interest for both customers and mongers really helped towards our great sales.

A quick aside for any non-cheesy readers:

What is a washed rind cheese?

A normal Caerphilly has a beautiful velvety grey and white rind, formed of a natural mould which is encouraged to grow on the cheese. When you wash a cheese, usually in salt water or sometimes in various sorts of alcohol, you prevent the mould from growing and instead encourage a sticky orange/pink rind to grow. This is actually a bacteria called B-Linens, and it has a characteristically meaty sometimes smokey flavour. It also tends to make the cheeses much softer and creamier. Well known washed rinds are Livarot, Reblochon and Vacherin.

These looked much more washed, ie pinker and stickier than previous GWRs I have seen. I like that a lot. Were they washed earlier or more often?

Like I said, the difference gave us a chance to talk a bit about different cheese making methods, which I think a lot of people really enjoy. Although sometimes I find it hard to stop and start to see people’s eyes glaze over. It is hard to realise that some people are not as geeky and obsessed about cheese as I am. I am thinking of getting a cattle prod for my fellow monger to apply when i start to go on too long.

If Maugs and Kim ever feel like sending us the odd GWR we will happily sell them.

Another reason we did well is that we have taken to getting samples and cut pieces out pretty much first thing even as we are opening. As long as one person keeps setting up we can sell the odd bit without slowing down our open. I think I said this before but its worth re-iterating: if you can create interest around the stall early on it can only have a good effect both on the customers and the mongers’ spirits – the more cheese you sell, um…the more cheese you sell, if you see what I mean. Sales seem to gather a certain momentum.

Of course if no one’s buying or people are just not getting big pieces it doesn’t seem to matter much what you do. Sometimes I think it can make you start to look and act a bit desperate which doesn’t help.

The vagaries of the market continue to bemuse me. We can have a marvellous day and another cheese stall can have an appalling one. Sometimes the market is very busy, but we still don’t make so much. I’d love to know what drives these variations. The only obvious ones I can think of is how long ago or recent pay day is and weather (too good or too bad both have a bad effect.) Sales always improve as we move into the Autumn/winter season. Perhaps the cold makes people want comfort food. If anyone has any other theories I’d love to hear them.

Here is a nice customer moment: A lady told us that the Gorwydd is one of her father’s favourite cheeses because it tastes like the Caerphilly that he used to be sent to buy for his father during the war. I love to hear that sort of thing and I think that Maugs, Kim and Todd should be very proud of that.

Another lady told us that she buys it for her husband because, as their names are Claire and Phil their quiz team name is ‘Clairephilly.’

Aha ha ha it is a funny joke.

We’ve all done very well. Carry on.


like the photo? it’s by Eatpictures


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