Increasingly, we seek the “authentic” as an alternative and this is where a brand can truly excel. If it can offer an experience that is impeccably curated, leaves nothing to chance and appears effortless while at the same time introduces an authentic story, a craft, or an absolute sense of place and belonging, then that brand has struck gold.
Image: Tom Jenner of Whitfield & Paxton, which offers more than 190 varieties of cheese
I was fortunate enough to participate in one such experience recently—a tour of the finest retailers in London’s St James’s organised by Food Lover London. We enjoyed a behind-the scenes appreciation of cheese shop Paxton & Whitfield, La Maison Maille mustard boutique, wine merchants Berry Bros. & Rudd and Fortnum & Mason with afternoon tea. I came away with enduring memories, not simply of the delicacies on offer, but also of the stories told by the hosts in each establishment.
image: Ciara at Fortnum & Mason and Harry at La Maison Maille mustard boutique offered warm welcomes and informed chat
The food and drink was delicious, but as those sensory memories fade, I am left with a desire to hear more stories: about the great British cheesemakers, who struggled through adversity to deliver a truly unique product; about today’s best-selling liquors that were concocted for special, discerning customers 150 years ago; and the driving passion of artisan creators to make each and every product the best it can possibly be.
image: Fascinating history from Francis Huicq, store manager at Berry Brod. & Rudd
It reminded me that often the most authentic and memorable of exceptional experiences only happen as a result of having the right people there at the right time, be they hosts, concierges, shop assistants, drivers, chefs, chambermaids or whoever. Thank you to Harry, Tom, Francis and Ciara for sharing your stories with us.‹ all articles