One of our fave PIG suppliers, Peter Morgan of The Book & Bucket Cheese Company, took a break from making award-winning cheeses at his Dorset dairy to chat with Andy Wright, Group Head Chef across all PIG hotels. Andy knows the difference that a quality ingredient can make to a dish, and values his personal relationships with small suppliers. THE PIGs were an early champion of The Book & Bucket’s now internationally awarded cheeses.
Peter Morgan: Did you know that THE PIG-on the beach was our very first customer account when I set up the business in 2019? I remember that you visited the dairy to look round, chat all things cheese and sample some of our cheeses.
Andy Wright: Yes, having come across some cheeses you’d made and loved them, we found out you were setting up properly as a supplier, and we couldn’t wait to sample some more. How did the push for starting your business come about?
PM: The Book & Bucket was a vision I had for years before we made our first cheese in 2019. I’m self-taught, so it started with a book full of recipes and a stainless-steel bucket – hence the name. These days, I have three 500-litre vats as “buckets”. The ethos is to take inspiration from the countryside surrounding our dairy, with many locally sourced ingredients.
AW: Like your Wilde cheese, with the wild garlic from just outside the dairy in it – I love that one. There must be many challenges for small scale artisanal producers such as yourselves, including the cost of ingredients and general overheads. Do you think you get enough support?
PM: The world has changed so much since I founded the business. It was touch and go during the pandemic and the support from THE PIGs made all the difference. It’s also been amazing to win medals at the World Cheese Awards, especially our Shakespeare cheese winning gold.
AW: It matters to us that we work with trusted suppliers like you, and for you to get recognition from a global platform is fantastic. How do you think the future is looking for smaller producers generally? There seems to be greater understanding from the public about shopping and supporting local, just as long as the milk prices don’t keep increasing. Britain had actually been a leading cheesemaker before World War II, which people forget. It feels like, slowly, more and more producers are appearing across the country, reclaiming the lost ground.
PM: Well, there are some cheeses where cows are milked by robots and the cheese has not been touched by a person until it’s opened by a customer. But many more people are starting to understand why supporting traditional, local and seasonal food is so important. It’s much better tasting, better for us and better for the environment. There’s demand for what we do.
AW: If you had to eat only one cheese for the rest of your life what would it be?
PM: Ouch, tough question. I have a favourite for every season, but I think it has to be Shakespeare. It was one of the first cheeses I developed and it is unusual in being a sheep’s milk brie. It’s all about seasonality really though, isn’t it? And with the PIGs’ changing seasonal menu, the cheese changes as well.
AW: Definitely, the best food is all about keeping things seasonal – that’s what we live and breathe at the PIGs.
PM: I think my favourite collaboration with THE PIGs has been a smoked halloumi dish with Boston beans, finished with a duck egg – that’s really warming, hearty comfort food.
You’ll find The Book & Bucket cheeses, such as Shakespeare, on the menu at many of our PIGS, or find out more here.