LAWSON’S DELI, ALDEBURGH
Former accountants Clare Jackson and her dad John Ormerod had grand plans when they took on Lawson’s Deli in Aldeburgh this January.
High on the agenda was transforming the much-loved shop into a mecca for cheese aficionados. But neither anticipated that, less than a year into their venture, they’d be opening a second shop in Southwold. This autumn, not only does the new sister deli open, but both shops will undergo a total rebranding, including a new name, yet to be revealed.
All things fromage are at the centre of their foodie store, says Clare. “Both of us are really into our cheeses. That’s what we’re focusing on here, really trying to invigorate the cheese counter. We’ve taken great strides in that direction and will continue in Southwold.”
Clare and John have been working with London’s Neal’s Yard Dairy, learning about all things cheese – including how to display great hunks of it in a more inviting and accessible way.
“We’re focusing our range on some really key pieces of cheese,” adds Clare. “Our new big initiative is we have had a cheese of the month every month since we’ve started. One of my favourites was Doorstone. It’s a very mild goats’ cheese. A lot of people came in saying ‘I don’t like goats’ cheese’, but they tried it and went away with it!”
Also sampled in the shop recently was Le Gruyere, with both a Reserve (matured for six to nine months) and a summer cheese laid out side by side so customers could taste the marked difference between the two. While the Reserve is nutty with a bite, the summer version is sweeter, made with milk from cows sent out to summer pasture.
Alongside changing guest cheeses is a ‘who’s who’ of big name artisanal and awardwinning varieties, such as mouth-tingling Lincolnshire Poacher and Montgomery cheddar, blue-veined, spicy Colston Bassett stilton, and melting, mushroomy Baron Bigod from Fen Farm Dairy near Bungay. Tastings are encouraged. Both both Clare and John want to pass on their passion for great cheese to all their customers.
Elsewhere in the shop are the perfect companions for some cheese indulgence.
“We’ve got crackers, chutneys from several different ranges, and we’re jarring up our own in-house relish and chutney. One’s beetroot-based, then there’s a thick chutney which is really nice, with fig seeds through it. We’ve got local honey from Hill Farm, and beautiful honey from The Art of Honey. Eric sources that in Hungary. They produce these honeycombs in bamboo and they’re absolutely fabulous.” To garnish the cheeseboard there’s a new pick and mix nut bar, and fresh figs.
The new Southwold version of the deli is near the Adnams Cellar and Kitchen in the town, in what used to be a run-down antiques shop. Again, it will be cheese focused, says Clare, with the full deli range, but the way the cheese is displayed will be different, not behind a glass screen, and customers will ‘interact’ with it differently.
“The cheese is going to be a lot more prominent,” says Clare. “We want to curate our cheese really beautifully.”
Manager, Nico De Villiers and Owner of Lawsons Deli In Aldeburgh, Clare Jackson.