“The market is full of characters, and they’re so lovely and welcoming. There’s a buzz in the place. The banter between them all is amazing – it’s all about the chat,” says Owen Wyn Davies, co-founder of Cheese Pantry, which opened in late 2016 in Cardiff Market and whose customers include prestigious James Sommerin’s restaurant and local pizza heroes Dusty Knuckle.
Symbolic of a rise in demand for quality food – “Provenance and quality is key. We know the producers and how our cheeses are made” – Cheese Pantry began after Owen formed a friendship with Mel Boothman and Jo Makein of Penylan Pantry based on shared values and a passion for food. When a pitch came up in Cardiff Market in 2016, they decided to go into business together.
As part of Owen’s desire to make cheese more appealing to a younger audience, Cheese Pantry does street food pop-ups and collaborations, such as a series of popular cheese and beer nights at Small Bar.
Owen, who moved to Cardiff just four years ago, says: “I’ll always remember my friend’s mum, who lived here, telling me: ‘Cardiff is small enough to be intimate, large enough to be mischievous.’”