“ Address: Cheerbrook Quality Farm Food Ltd / Newcastle Road / Nantwich / Cheshire CW5 7EL / England „
Cheerbrook Quality Farm Food is an independant farm shop based on the outskirts of Nantwich, Cheshire.
The shop was started in 2000 after the owner found that good quality local meat was much in demand at the local farmers market.
Whilst I cannot commment on the shop from its first day, I have now been shopping there for the past two and a half years and would not go anywhere else.
Having moved to the Cheshire area from West Sussex one of my first actions was to find good local food (especially meat) as the butcher I had in West Sussex was an absolute gem. I did think that I would struggle to find a worthy successor.
Initial forays into the area were disappointing. Following various small signs proclaiming 'The best meat you will ever taste' were, sadly, full of disappointment. Some farm shops had their meat vacuum packed so it looked un-appetising and, frankly, it didn't taste much better when cooked. (For those of you who wonder, I am an excellent cook!). Then one day I saw a sign for Cheerbrook Quality Farm Food.
There didn't seem to be much to lose - it's only 5 miles from my home and, as I live down a country lane, I have to pass it to get into town.
The experience was excellent.
You turn up, what appears to be, somebody's drive, however it continues up to open out into a nice parking area with fields on either side of the drive (generally with a couple of good looking animals grazing or sunning themselves). The shop itself is a low brick-built affair but when you walk in you are immediately impressed by the lay-out.
Though it can get quite crowded at the weekend the shop is fairly open-plan. Once you have entered you find that the fresh meat counter is on your right and almost in front of you, running about a third of the shop (on your left) are freezers with loose products - these can be anything from uncooked frozen croissants to frozen roast potatoes and good sized yorkshire puddings.
The fresh meat counter is nicely laid out, and the meat looks very appetising with a good colour on the red meats. All the meat is locally reared with the furthest supplier being about 10 miles away.
The meat itself is of a very high quality, albeit you do have to pay a bit extra than you would in a supermarket - but for me, I would prefer to have a smaller piece of meat that is packed with flavour than a larger, tasteless piece.
Their Pork is free-range (a recent change) and you can dispense with any seasoning as the taste is exquisite.
They also prepare their own marinades, which comes in handy all year round, but especially when there is a bit of sunshine about. Kebabs, Burgers (made from steak trimmings) lime and ginger marinaded pork steaks - the range goes on and on.
Further down past the fresh meat counter is the delicatessen. With the exception of the pate's (and now I think the 'Esplys? pork pies - though I do stand to be corrected) the produce is home made. One of my favourites is the Pork & Apple plaits. Think - sausage roll with a layer of apple between the meat and the pastry. They also have 'normal' sausage rolls, again home made, which just cannot be beat. They also make their own pork pies with different toppings. My favourite is cranberry and apple topping, but you can have stuffing, or cheese & pickle. If you are lucky enough to go to the shop at the right time then you will get the warm sausage rolls/sausage & apple plaits - which generally do not make it much further than the car-park before they are devoured.
Apple ham, quiches, chicken gougons (made with real chicken) - all can be found on the deli counter, together with the usual potato salads, coleslaws and, again my particular favourite, Victorian coleslaw which contains raisins and a slightly tangy mayonnaise.
They also have a small area where local veg and salad can be chosen, together with fresh cream and milk from local dairys.
There is a range of microwavable dinners, which again are made by the Cheerbrook chef. These are either on the chilled counter or frozen.
The bread and rolls are freshly delivered daily and have that nice home-backed taste that the supermarkets cannot match, even with their store-baked breads.
They also have a small display of wines - both 'regular' and the 'elderflower' and other such strange varieties. Local and gourmet beer (never knew there was such a thing).
Jams and sauces are all available - again a very tasty range (none of that vaguely chemical taste you get from the supermarkets), fresh local free range eggs and some fantastic pasta sauces.
Some of these items are sourced from larger quality suppliers, such as Cottage Delight, Bay Tree, Cartmel Village Shop etc., but the quality is a good match for their own home produced fare.
The staff that serve you are extremely pleasant and helpful and even when the store is very busy always seem able to make time for your questions without impacting the flow of service to other customers.
By the time you have reached the check-out area your basket is normally groaning under the weight of the produce you cannot help but buy. There you are greeted by more cheerful staff who pack your produce carefully and logically into either your own 'bag for life' or if you have forgotten it, a plastic bag. It doesnt matter if you have the heavy stuff at the bottom of your basket and the light on top, when the girl (or boy) has finished packing your bag, the heavy stuff is still at the bottom and the light or easily crushable items are delicately placed on top.
For those of you who live within striking distance of Nantwich or who are holidaying in the area I would highly recommend a visit - you can always carry the food home and freeze it.
This review can also be seen at ciao.com
Enjoy fresh meats from the butchery and the delicatessen. Get the rest of the goods under the same roof.