National Cheese Day: The Brie-lliant Business Partnering with Lyons in 2021

Share it!

Calling all cheese lovers -find out more about how Lyons is supporting local with this ‘grate’ venture for owners this season!

You might have heard about our Discount Location Guide. This wonderful community incentive project provides owners with discounts at local businesses throughout the year. And aren’t there some treats in store for our wonderful customers this year! On National Cheese Day, we thought we’d hone in on The Little Cheesemonger. This quirky Prestatyn and Rhuddlan-based business have gone from strength to strength – read on to find out more!

What’s the Little Cheesemonger all about?

The Little Cheesemonger is a specialist cheese shop full of artisan goodies based in the beautiful county of Denbighshire, North Wales. The shop specialises in particular in Welsh cheese from north to South Wales, as well as fine British cheese and European cheese.
Created by fromagegirl (aka Gemma Williams), the Little Cheesemonger brings hand-selected food from people and places unknown to supermarkets. They also supply the best artisan delicatessen food – that’s usually found in places like London – to people in Wales and beyond. Gemma has worked with cheese and food retail in Edinburgh, Chester and Wales. She has served in some of the most exclusive cheese shops, sourcing the best artisan products for people with a passion for food.

What type of cheese do they specialise in?

Their emphasis is on gourmet cheese, sharing platters, fantastic food and luxury hampers. These are all fantastic gifts for birthdays and Christmas Day as well as astonishing cheese wedding towers. You can browse their selection of cheese and more or create your own bespoke hamper with their online delicatessen.
Gemma said: “We specialise in Welsh cheese and unpasteurized farmhouse cheeses. We’ve got a maturing room so that basically means when I buy my cheese, I can take it in there and decide to make it stronger or older, or more mature. I’m able to adapt the taste by deciding to keep it longer. A few kinds of cheese come in where I think ‘this is good, but if I whack a few more months on it, then it’ll be amazing.’

How has the business been during the pandemic?

“The secret ingredient is always cheese,” said Gemma, who not only survived the pandemic but also did the miraculous thing of launching a new franchise smack bang in the middle of lockdown. She said: “With opening the second shop in the pandemic, there was always a risk. It wasn’t easy as the new shop and new staff didn’t get any funding from the government, and we couldn’t furlough the staff. We just had to push ahead and be very careful. There were temporary sacrifices like the maturing room had to be shut down, but it’s still there waiting to come back to life. It’s hibernating!”

With the evident success of the Little Cheesemonger in Rhuddlan, Gemma had plans to branch out to Prestatyn High Street for months. Even the pandemic, which affected small local businesses deeply, wouldn’t keep this cheese lover from reaching her dreams! In December 2020, Gemma and the team opened the Prestatyn-based shop – just in time for the festive push. She said: “We had to be open for Christmas as we knew there would be no sales in January. We got the keys in mid-October and got everything turned around as fast as we could!”

Why did they decide to branch out to Rhuddlan?

Gemma said: “The Little Cheesemonger was so small in Rhuddlan and it was great for starting up. At the time, we were the only one in the area and there was no sort of cheese places around until you got to Chester or further afield. It was great for the first year or so, but then we soon realised in the second year that it was too small.

“It was just so busy! Prestatyn was a way for us to keep Rhuddlan going as there’s a fantastic loyal customer base there. But Prestatyn gives us the opportunity to do in-house tasting, maturing, store more items, easier to dispatch orders, make our sharing platters. It’s becoming so popular, and we don’t have space in Rhuddlan to do what we want to do. Especially at Christmas when we get so busy with hampers! Prestatyn is a great venture with more things to do.”

What’s the UK cheese industry like at the moment?

Gemma said the “mad panic” at the start of the pandemic was a difficult workspace – but the team pulled through, and thought cleverly about how to distribute their resources. She said: “There was a mad panic because the cheesemakers were still producing a high amount of cheese. With all the restaurants closed, there was a cheese mountain left over. There wasn’t a quick turnaround, and quite a lot of the cheesemakers had three options. To stop producing, quickly adjust to make much smaller amounts, or close completely.
“Then Jamie Oliver came on the scene shouting about his pals and was worried about them losing their businesses. I lost two of my Welsh cheesemakers last year and they haven’t come back. It’s a real shame as they made some beautiful cheeses. There have been some losses in the industry, unfortunately, but it doesn’t mean they won’t come back.”

What’s your favourite cheese?

“Gorgonzola! I have Italian genetics/ heritage so it means a lot. It’s always been my favourite and locally produced gorgonzola is nothing like the one you can buy in the supermarket.” Gemma and her wine-wingman Chris attended the first owners’ event of 2021 at Lyons Robin Hood earlier last month, bringing smiles in the form of samples and sips to many happy attendees. More events of this nature are on the cards this year, so keep an eye out on your emails for more info!


Visit The Little Cheesemonger to find out more about Gemma’s amazing range of cheeses, gins, wines, preserves and snacks!


Read more from our blog

A group of Zebras is called a Dazzle, and ZeZe certainly Dazzles with her hip dance moves and rocking smusic taste

The latest member of the Beach Buddies is ZeZe! After Leo, Milo and Hetty enjoyed the delights of Mombasa Beach and the Chalbi desert on their backpacking trip through Kenya, they made a friend in ZeZe, the sassy, rockin’ and dazzling Zebra. ZeZe has a natural flair for playing any instrument available to her and she loves writing songs for her friends. Much to the delight of Hetty who loves a boogie.

You can catch ZeZe at ZeZe’s Eco Fashion, Beach Buddy Pap Call, Beach Buddy Showtime and ZeZe’s Birthday Party. Check the events calendar for more details.

Milo loves to tell jokes… “Why did the monkey take its banana to the doctors? It wasn’t peeling good.”

A cheeky-chappie who loves to joke, Milo is enthusiastic about EVERYTHING! You will often see Milo bounding around park, full of energy. Milo absolutely loves all things bananas; Banana bread, banana
cookies, banana milk! Milo’s favourite dance move is the “banana split!”, letting his creativity shine when he’s rapping and dancing, Milo loves joining Hetty in making up new, cool moves. The laughter never stops when Milo is around with his funny jokes, friendly pranks and infectious chuckle! Milo’s good-nature and zest for
life, means you just want to be around him all the time.

You can catch Milo at Milo’s Make a Mess, Beach Buddy Pap Call, Beach Buddy Showtime and Milo’s Birthday Party. Check your parks event calendar for more details!

Cool and smart, Leo is definitely, the “mane” man!

Full of energy, Leo is a probably the coolest guy you’ll ever meet and he loves making new friends! You will often find Leo socialising with all his friends and hosting the best parties. Keeping active is Leo’s favourite way to spend his time! Leo will try any sport or activity from playing basketball and football to archery, becoming a master of them all! Smart, logical and grounded, Leo leads his Buddies, always thinking of games and exciting activities. You can’t help but smile when Leo is around.

You can catch Leo at Leo’s Sports Day, Beach Buddy Pap Call, Beach Buddy Showtime and Leo’s Birthday Party.

Hetty always says, “I’m gonna hippo-pot-a-miss you!” When it's time to say goodbye

The quietest of all her friends with a big imagination, Hetty always has the most fantastical, creative ideas and believes that all dreams can come true! Hetty can often be found dancing around park and making up new moves with Milo for her friends to join in all her dances. Hetty loves all things colourful and covered in sparkles, her favourite colour is pink… all shades of pink! Baby pink, bubble-gum pink, flamingo… She loves them all! Kind-hearted and loveable, Hetty loves to meet new friends and giving them all a big hippo hug. You can’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy when you meet Hetty.

Come and see Hetty at Hetty’s Sensory Play, Beach Buddy Showtime, Beach Buddy Pap Call and Hetty’s Birthday Party. Check your parks event calendar for more details.