here’s a newcomer to Holcombe Market: an expert in all things cheese. Now permanent fixture, Holly Chaves’ Wine & Rind is bringing quality cheeses from around the UK and the continent direct to the people of Tottenham.
My first trip is on a rainy Friday where, despite the drizzle, I’m greeted warmly by Holly and fellow ‘monger Vanessa, who is clad in bright orange and carrying a tray of the day’s samples: bun and cheese.
What better way to entice visitors than with a twist on a Caribbean classic, showcasing a nutty Old Winchester? “It’s like a cross between a cheddar and a parmesan,” Holly explains, “and it’s absolutely divine paired with the spiced bun.”
Holly has been working in the food industry for over a decade, and began specializing in cheese five years back when starting as a Saturday girl at a cheese shop in Greenwich. Within two weeks they asked her to be manager, and it’s been all about cheese ever since.
“I always loved it and just wanted to learn more and more,” she gushes. This passion eventually lead to her hosting her own cheese-themed events at restaurants and markets across London. So with raclette nights at Sager & Wilde or Cannon and Cannon, to toastie dinners at local joints Craving Coffee and the Tottenham Green Market under her belt, Holly sure knows her stuff. Thinking about cheese reportedly even keeps her up at night.
A permanent opportunity arose when a unit at Holcombe Market became available for rent, and as a Tottenham girl – having grown up in Bruce Grove, not far from where she’s now slinging toasted cheeses, cornichons, and truffle crisps – it felt ideal.
Sick of traveling to Stoke Newington or Highbury & Islington for artisan cheese, she was always keen to take matters into her own hands and bring les fromage to home turf, something she was convinced would be appreciated locally.
“We need nice things too, innit!” she exclaims, to the agreement of an enthusiastic first-timer who’s just bought a slab of the Old Winchester and Ossau-Iraty, a milky white sheep’s cheese from the Basque Pyrenées.
And the perfect vehicle for her amazing cheeses? The Breville cheese toastie, a simple British classic that Holly previously had success offering to Eurostar travelers, during her residency at St Pancras station last summer.
The toastie she serves up is far from the fancy versions more often seen on London’s food scene though, as it’s made with everyday sliced white rather than artisan loaves. “It doesn’t need to be posh,” she asserts, “and bringing out the Breville was a nostalgic and fun idea that people respond to well.”
On offer on my visit was a mozzarella, nujda, and tomato toastie, drizzled with truffle honey: melty, juicy, and all with a delightful kick.
As the name suggests, wine is also available, with options like a tasty vinho verde by the glass. Plus Holly also sells locally-made hot sauces and charcuterie, and has been experimenting at pairing cheeses with crackers from Hale Brewing at Five Miles, who have been road-testing crackers made from the spent grains from their beer-making.
Local residents aren’t the only ones taking notice of Tottenham’s first cheese shop. Recent coverage in Eater and Urban Junkies have proven that Wine & Rind, and the growing food scene in the area, are officially recognised on the London food map.
Words by Jeanne Kessira ( @jeannegkay )
Photos by Stephen Furner (Tottenham Photography Club)