An institution in TW12, Hampton Cheese and Wine Company has been opening its doors to customers in Hampton village for 6 years. I was lucky enough to be given their cheese and wine tasting experience for Christmas from my other half and we finally found an evening to get ourselves down there and try it out. And how sorry we are that we waited so long!
We’d booked a table on a Thursday evening before the long Easter weekend, and thank goodness we had booked as it was clearly very popular. You enter through the shop which is a treat for the eyes and nose – one wall stocked full of wine and the other a huge display fridge for all of the amazing looking cheeses. A few samples on the counter kept us occupied whilst we waited for our table and then we headed round into the dining area. Dominated by a huge communal table (that is obviously used for their tasting evenings) and surrounded by smaller ones, the compact area is styled excellently with some fun bits and pieces – but not cluttered in the slightest. We were sat next to a framed letter from the queen thanking them for inviting her to their jubilee tasting – she regretfully declined! If only she knew what she missed out on!
As we had booked the cheese and wine pairing experience, we were quickly greeted by the owner Steve, who bought us over 5 wines each and a fabulous looking cheese board. To say he was knowledgable is to do him a dis-service. I’ve never had a more concise and understandable explanation for each wine and why it is paired with that cheese – and he really manages to give it a personal touch explaining about how he actually helped make the Montgomery’s Cheddar. The descriptions were so good that in fact I was getting a bit desperate to tuck in as he went through each pairing, but I have to say I much prefer it done this way than bringing us one tasting at a time. And what was even better was that we were left with the list below so we could remember what was what and then be left to enjoy the evening on our own without having to wait for our next pairing.
As you can see from the list, it was a really interesting mix of wines and cheeses and we could really tell the thought that had been put into pairing them. The difference that each cheese made to the wine was pretty exceptional. My personal favourite was the Montgomery’s Cheddar and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo pairing as the cheese seemed to make the wine even softer and fruitier. It’s also worth noting that we left with a bottle of Doppio Passo (Primitivo) that apparently is by far and away their best seller – outselling most of their other wines by about 8-1! Apparently this is a wine that everyone loves and we certainly agree with the majority here.
If not doing one of their tasting experiences, there is an extensive food menu (based around cheese of course!) and lots of different wines to try by the glass. They’re also happy to let you have a little try of a wine if you’re unsure which is always welcome. We’ll certainly be back to try their Stilton, Walnut and Cranberry on Toast (Mmmmmm!) and of course we have a lot more wines to sample.
We are very lucky to say that this is relatively local to us, but if you are not based in South West London I can honestly say it is worth the trip. I’m so glad we’ve discovered this little gem and have a feeling we’ll be visiting on a regular basis. It’s places like this that will put Hampton on the map.