London’s Big Cheese is in Pimlico

Rippon Cheese

Rippon Cheese

Rippon Cheese Stores in Pimlico is a wholesale and retail specialist cheese supplier. There are over 500 cheeses available and it’s a wonderful place to visit for a cheese lover.

The company has been around for over 20 years, and the “Big Cheese” (his words) is Philip Rippon, who is in the store most days. The shop has been refurbished and reopened in October 2009 as, essentially, a walk-in cold room. There are literally hundreds of cheeses on the shelves – at least 250 at all times – ordered alphabetically. Each cheese has a label stating its name, country of origin, whether pasteurised or unpasteurised, sheep/goat/cow, if vegetarian and price per kilo. (Blue cheeses are kept on their own shelving unit or, it was explained to me, the other cheese nearby would start to turn blue!)

Happy Staff

Happy Staff

Within minutes of me staring at the shelves looking overwhelmed, a member of staff was over asking if they could help. They are happy to give recommendations and tastings are acceptable. I was surprised how not smelly it was in there, although there is a cheesy whiff it’s not so bad you don’t want to go in. Maybe because I’m a cheese lover, I actually found it quite appealing. I had a great chat with Jon, who joined the team in late 2009 but has a West End retail background. He informed me that the old Chief Executive of Tesco had called Rippon Cheeses the “best cheese shop in London”, and as he had a few shops himself at the time this was high praise indeed.

About 80% of their sales are wholesale and they supply some of the big name restaurants in town, including the Gordon Ramsey restaurants. This is a bonus for us going in to buy from the shop as the cheese is never on the shelves for long. I did ask about how they keep it all fresh and the regulated temperature in the store of around 9 degrees C means that the cheese can stay fresh for ages. You can buy whole truckles (that’s the whole round cheese as it’s made), or any size piece can be cut. The 7 year matured Parmesan is most unusual and incredibly large and heavy but the staff are all kept fit moving and cutting the cheeses.
Maturing Rooms

Maturing Rooms

I had a tour of downstairs too and this is where they have the Maturing Rooms. The temperature is different and this means they can buy cheese ahead of selling and use the space to prepare the cheese.

Rippon have another store a few doors away which is their deli. I headed there afterwards to buy crackers and chutney. (Crackers are available at the cheese store but you need to ask for them as they have to be stored out of the cold room so they don’t get damp.) There are some incredible smells, colours, and tastes and definitely something for everyone. I was intrigued by the French Morbier which has a thin layer of ash in the middle between the morning and afternoon milk but in the end I went for a Montgomery Cheddar that had some blue running through it. As it didn’t look the way a customer may expect Cheddar to be, the store had decided to discount these pieces and I benefited by gaining a large piece for around £3.
Ripon Cheese Stores are hoping to have a retail website by spring 2010 and are looking forward to mail order sales as they’ve been asked to offer this service by many customers (International sales will be available where customs rules allow). Already they offer local delivery and Nick tells me he likes to “buy posh cheeses from there as Xmas presents”.
Cheese Shelves

Cheese Shelves


26 Upper Tachbrook Street

Opening Hours:

Monday to Saturday: 8am – 5.30pm
Tel: 020 7931 0628

Laura Porter

Laura Porter

Laura Porter from London Travel visited Rippon Cheese Stores for us.

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2 Responses to “London’s Big Cheese is in Pimlico”

  1. Nick says:

    Laura – what a fabulous article – thank you! We are very lucky in Pimlico to have some great specialist retailers, and this is one of them.

  2. Laura says:

    Since writing this I’ve now got a group of people begging for a cheese and wine night! I wonder if we’ll find somewhere in Pimlico to do this…

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