A CHEESE shop in Rhuddlan has snapped up an award and is in the running for a second.

Gemma Williams, owner of The Little Cheesemonger on High Street, lives in Pensarn. She opened her shop two years ago in June.

Gemma found out this month that her specialist shop has been awarded Best Cheesemonger in Wales by Slow Food Awards UK.

It has also been shortlisted for Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2019.

The winner will be revealed on November 5 during a reception in the House of Commons Terrace Pavilion.

Gemma said: "I have already booked my train ticket.

"The Slow Food one means a lot and I didn't even know I was up for it. I have always followed Slow Food since it was started in the 80s and have made efforts to be more environmentally conscious.

"I'm really excited about being shortlisted for Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2019. I am small and my shop is the perfect size."

When asked what it would mean to her to win, Gemma responded it would be recognition.

"Having the customers telling you that you've got it right. It's encouraging." she added.

Rhyl Journal:

The Little Cheesemonger stocks cheese from tiny local producers like a seasonal Ewe’s raw milk cheese that melts like an ice cream at room temperature, right over to nutty hard cheese with aged crunchy bits from sandstone caves in Switzerland

"When you own a business you are on your own. I love promoting different produce and if you can sell it, then it is money back into the local economy.

"I am on my own in the shop but my auntie gives me a hand one day a week. I do weddings, I am here, there and everywhere, I do tastings with Blind Veterans and talks at cheese, ale and gin tasting events."

Gemma promotes in her shop cheese, jam, honey, chocolates, ales, ciders, gins and coffee beans.

She said: "We have such fantastic small producers who make delicious foods and drink on our door step. We have time to give old fashioned shop service but with a modern outlook to what we stock such as locally made vegan cheese or our Friday Night Sharing platters.

"I know the producers well and we get to know our customers and what they like."

Prior to going into the cheese industry, Gemma studied glass blowing.

"I got a job in Edinburgh after my course to support my career in glass blowing. This was a job in a cheesemongers and that is where it started," Gemma explained.

"My dad is a fabulous chef so food has always been second nature.

"I have worked in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Chester, Bodnant.

"I was made redundant from Bodnant and then a shop came up in Rhuddlan. I am at the mindset that everything happens for a reason, so I thought it was the right time to give it a go."

Slow Food is a global, grassroots movement with members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. It was founded in 1989 in Italy.

The Best Small Shops competition is managed by the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC). The competition celebrates the commitment and creativity of independent retailers on the UK’s High Streets and the central role they play in their local communities.

Mark Walmsley, chairman of the Independent Retailers Confederation, said: “Independent retailers are the lifeblood of UK high streets,” explains Mark Walmsley, Chairman of the Independent Retailers Confederation. They offer tradition, choice and innovation through the diversity of niche products and services. Independent retailers have been, and still are, an integral part of local communities all around the UK.

"The Best Small Shops competition enables us to celebrate this unique industry. It is all about recognising the community and culture that is independent retail, giving us the chance to highlight its innovation, customer service, commitment to community and diversity.