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Chinley Cheese: going back to my Peak District roots and finding a new hidden gem

Those who know me can attest to the fact that I well and truly embrace my Northern roots. I love chips and gravy, enjoy a pint or two of real ale and walk it all off with a hill to climb (when the Peak District is so beautiful it's hard not to).

During the pandemic I've been rooted to the south and don't get me wrong, I love the scenic Northamptonshire countryside but I'm always drawn back to the High Peak, with its peat bogs, craggy edges, holloways and footpaths amongst the vast expanse of hillsides and valleys.

I took the opportunity recently to visit family during a "quiet week", climbed a few hills and treated myself to a trip to a fellow cheesebotherer. A visit to Chinley Cheese has been on my list for ages and I am thankful I finally got the chance.

Joe met me outside his shop which is nestled at the foot of Cracken Edge, a former slate quarry overlooking the village of Chinley, a childhood stomping ground of mine. He has been running the post office alongside Chinley Cheese since November.

The office-like counter of the post office blends in to the deli and the feel of the whole place is more fine wine ageing room than retail waiting room and there is a nostalgic whiff of wooden shelving and polish. I love that the original features of the post office of the 50's still exist and have been incorporated into the new business, even the original windows have been given an artistic makeover.

Being a recent cheese start-up (like us) I've been following the progress of Chinley Cheese on Instagram and we share many of the same values; supporting local producers, a love of artisan cheese and pairing it with local ales, wines and other suitably alcoholic beverages and serving up something different than the usual supermarket produce to the local residents.

Chinley Cheese is more than just a cheese shop. Holly, Joe's wife, makes and sells children's sensory toys, they have charcuterie, local ales, international wines, locally made bread, chutneys and sauces and the post office counter is right next to the fridge. For a cheese, beer and wine lover like me - it's a cavern of convenience.

Everything you need (and more) for a picnic up a suitably large hillside.

Of course I couldn't leave empty handed and picked up a wedge of the local curds, Devonshire Gold from Hartington's Creamery which was washed down with a rather tasty pint of Buxton Brewery Gatekeeper. (keep an eye out for the Devonshire Gold in May's Cheese Box)

Devonshire Gold: The soft delicate blue veins and mellow amber paste give way to the heavy dark fruity tones of the porter ale creating a mouth-watering burnt caramel finish.

Talking some more with Joe, I discovered he is passionate about working with other businesses in the village, he stocks bread from the local baker, hosts events with the café across the road and has some great sounding plans in the pipeline. Look out for his continental hampers, Algerian dates (not the Tinder variety) and more of the best local brews.

Of course, I couldn't make the journey "home" without bringing some delicacies from the south now, could I?

I treated Joe to some of my very own hand-crafted cheese and left him with a slab of The Northampton Cheese Company's Clickers, Togglers and Skyver. Watch this space, residents of the Peak District may soon be able to treat themselves to some of Northamptonshire's finest and I left with a sense of happiness that this quiet corner of the Peak District still has an amazing community feel to it along with the warmth and charm I have always looked forward to when I visit.

Chinley cheese is on Green Lane, Chinley and is open Monday - Friday from 9am - 5:30pm and Saturday from 9am - 12:30

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