We call him a Somerset foodie - but Martin Blunos is no country bumpkin. In actual fact, he’s a Michelin-starred chef, as well as one of the judges on BBC Two show Food Poker, and he’s created the sandwich just in time for the Frome Cheese show this weekend. Blunos and cheese maker Pilgrim’s Choice worked together on the sandwich, in an effort to get it recognised by the Guinness Book of Records.
Now, if you're thinking that the creation of a very expensive cheese sandwich doesn’t have much to do with macroeconomics, that’s where you’re wrong. Frome, a place with intrinsic links to the luxury industry, is a perfect barometer for the super-premium market. Exclusive Soho House rural outpost Babbington House is set in the surrounding countryside,while posh handbag manufacturer Mulberry is based in nearby Shepton Mallet and a number of celebrities have made their homes in the town. Some might feel that more than a hundred quid for a cheese sarnie is a bit ripe, but, if the good people of Frome think the time is right for such a concoction, who are we to argue?
There’s certainly evidence that the market has been recovering, not least from the world’s largest luxury goods brand LVMH, which owns the likes of Louis Vuitton and Moet et Chandon, and which in July reported a 53% surge in first-half profits. And an indication that the UK’s high-end manufacturers may be seeing an upturn came in the form of a Telegraph interview, published yesterday, with the founder and MD of silver and leather firm Thomas Lyte. Kevin Baker, who set up shop in 2007, said more luxury brands are transferring their manufacturing back to the UK. 'Buying a logo is no longer enough,’ he explained. 'There has to be integrity to the product, a passion for the craft involved in what you sell’.
As for Blunos, he says his sandwich is best washed down with a nice glass of Brut fizz. Cristal, presumably. And if you can’t afford it - well, that’s just hard cheese.