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The Cheese Shed
Ian Wellens and his partners started this mail-order cheese business in 2006 from his garden shed in Devon. Specialising in West Country cheesemakers, the Cheese Shed has grown steadily, with fans keen to try “off the beaten track” cheeses that might otherwise only be found at farmers’ markets. Its popular “cheese subscription” service starts at three boxes a year (£99) and goes up to a monthly delivery (£399).
Delivers across the UK (NB next deliveries not until January); the cheeseshed.com
This excellent new club brings a Jules Verne spirit of adventure to the sedentary pleasure of eating chocolate. Scouting out top-notch producers and unusual flavours from around the globe – think Madagascan dark chocolate with bird chilli or “double turned” bars by Danish maker Friis Holm – Cocoa Runners has an extensive “library” of chocolate for its members to try. Every month it dispatches a smart box to subscribers containing four bars, complete with tasting notes.
cocoarunners.com, from £14.95 a month (offer price until January 4 2014)
Nothing beats the pub but this beer delivery service comes close. First sign someone up for a 12-week (£36) or 24-week (£72) subscription; BeerBods then sends a single package of 12 or 24 bottles, and picks out a beer a week for a live Twitter tasting every Thursday at 9pm. Launched in September last year by 28-year-old Matt Lane, BeerBods sources bottles from small, independent breweries – predominantly from the UK, but also from Japan, the Americas and Europe.
Climpson & Sons
Coffee roaster Climpson & Sons has been making espresso blends and single-bean brews from its Broadway Market HQ in east London since 2005. Climpson has just acquired a Loring SmartRoaster, an environmentally friendly machine that also promises greater consistency. The coffee subscription service (from £26 for three months of 250g bags) is a chance to sample new coffees; you specify the grind and style.
Poilâne and St John
French sourdough supremo Poilâne has an overnight delivery service to any postcode in the UK. Breads include the signature sourdoughs, walnut bread and rye.
Watch out in the new year for the launch of St John’s “bread postal service”, which will dispatch its famous sourdoughs, Eccles cakes, brownies, raisin and rye loaves across the UK.
For Poilâne deliveries call the London shop on 020 7808 4910 (£5 zone 1 and 2 in London, £11 up to 12kg rest of UK). For St John see stjohngroup.uk.com