If you’ve been keeping up to date with all the recent postings in the run up to the Crail Food Festival, you’ll know that Fife produce is world class. Over the course of last weekend, these producers showcased their products, and allowed us to see, sample and buy the sort of food that only Fife can produce. Another member of this community is Svetlana Redpath from The Guid Cheese Shop in St Andrews. Her range of locally sourced artisan products proudly adorn cheese boards across the Kingdom of Fife. With my mouth watering, Svetlana shared a few secrets with me about the art of sourcing such a vast range of wonderful cheeses.
What made you decide to open your own cheese shop?
My passion for farmhouse and artisan cheese is unrivalled. Being a cheesemonger is a very interactive profession. Every day I get the opportunity to talk to people about cheese, and show them just how many cheeses there are available. When I recommend a cheese to a customer, I encourage them to taste a sample of the cheese before they buy it. This ensures that they leave with a cheese they are going to love.
Do you produce your own cheese, or do you source the products you sell?
The Guid Cheese Shop is a retailer and wholesaler. Cheese making is an entirely different profession, which requires a great deal of time and skill. It also involves a number of specialised processes, such as sourcing the highest quality milk, and allowing the optimum time for the product to mature. Knowing the products we sell have been treated to the best possible process, using premium products, makes us proud to be sellers of such wonderful cheeses.
What methods have you used to engage the local community in promoting your business?
St Andrews is an amazing town, with a number of residents who really enjoy their food and recognise high quality products. We enjoy being a part of the local community and support local organisations, charities and student societies by donating prizes for their raffles and fundraising events. Most recently we were a sponsor of the Royal Wedding Breakfast, an event that had a massive impact on the local community. We also regularly participate in regional festivals and food events, which is why we are so happy to support the first ever Crail Food Festival.
What makes you so passionate about cheese?
It’s a truly amazing product, and so versatile. The number of cheeses that can be produced from an ingredient as simple as milk is a marvel. I never get tired of trying new cheeses, but I do have my firm favourites. What a lot of people don’t realise about cheese is that it’s actually a very healthy food. When it’s made properly, either by a farmer or an artisan cheese maker, it’s full of vitamins and minerals, whilst being a fantastic source of protein and calcium.
How did you become involved in the Crail Food Festival?
The organisers of the festival approached us to see if we would be interested and we didn’t need so much as a second to think about it. It’s admirable to see someone invest so much of their precious time to organise such a worthwhile event. We believe it’s extremely important to celebrate artisan foods like this, otherwise we run the risk of being left with tasteless and unhealthy mass produced supermarket offerings.
What makes Fife produce so special?
Fife is a beautiful agricultural region that produces a lot of fresh food that we are lucky enough to enjoy. But what makes it even more special, is the passion of the people who both make and grow this exceptional produce.