Cute bright pink shop on the way to the beach ... it sells a good mix of clothes & cute little unusual gifts. Great costume jewellery, handbags, shoes .... you can rummage for ages in there. A good find.
What to buy: Nice chunky jewellery pieces & cute dresses.
What to pay: dresses from about £25 - £65
If I asked you to describe your ideal food shop you might say something like good quality, locally sourced produce, knowledgeable, friendly staff who are passionate about what they sell, impeccable hygeine standards and somewhere where local people come to shop. If you did, you would just about have perfectly described the Cheese Box.
We visited on a mideweek morning off-season (it is a holiday town after all) and had to wait a few minutes to be served. This is not due to any dilatoriness on the part of the staff but rather that there were a few people waiting to be served and great attention was being given to them all. Still, there was plenty to keep you interested and certainly whet the appetite. Chalkboards announced what local cheeses were currently on offer with a description and provenance of each.
When it came to our turn to be served it was clear that the lady and gentleman serving were simply passionate (yes, I know, but it really is the only word that fits) and could tell you the names of each individual supplier and all about the produce. There are certainly other cheeses but the emphasis is very much centred on the Kentish cheesemakers art. We asked for a recommendation for a taste of local produce and were directed towards Ashmore (very popular apparently), Penstock Blue and the delightfully named Kelly's Goat. When I somewhat flippantly asked if the lady knew where Kelly's Goat was tethered, she cheerfully informed me that the cheesemaker actually had a daughter called Kelly, hence the name. I reckon product knowledge does not come any better than that.
In addition to the wonderful cheese, there is also a selection of artisan bread, again locally produced. We opted for the rosemary bread which was simply delightful. The selection changes depending on what the baker decides to make. Add in some delightful local chutneys, pickles etc. (I recommend the Cheesemaker's chutney) and you have the recipe for an absolutely perfect cheeseboard.
You can also buy local milk, yoghurt, butter, cream, crackers and sweetmeats or even a bespoke cheese wedding cake!
Oh, I almost forgot to say, the cheeses were simply superb, hence the title for the tip. I have included a photo which does not really do them justice as it was taken with flash.
If you cannot get to Whitstable, the shop runs a van in nearby Faversham Market on a Friday and Saturday.
I really cannot recommend this place highly enough.
What to buy: Well, you should buy just about anything in the shop. Superb cheeses, bread, chutney, the place is just a dream.
What to pay: Certainly more than supermarket prices but worth every penny.
Whitstable Fish Market must only be a pale imitation now of what it was when the fishing fleet was in it's heyday, but it's still worth a visit. Let's face it, the produce could not be any fresher - it must have to travel all of 30 feet from the boat to the chiller cabinet!
In fairness, the prices aren't all that much cheaper than in London, but you are undoubtedly buying the freshest available.
There is a seafood restaurant upstairs (see photo), but I've never eaten there.
There are only about five outlets now in existence (including one which is still licensed to boil whelks!) but my personal favourite is St. Augustine's which is, as described above, underneath the restaurant. Hopefully, the photos give you some idea of what you can expect to buy. Personally, just looking at those photos, I can smell the fresh fish and it is making me hungry!
What to buy: Whatever kind of fish or seafood takes your fancy. Obviously, Whitstable is most famous for oysters, but every conceivable type of fish and seafood is there.
What to pay: Slightly less than London prices.
I don't know if this is always there, but look out for the cheese van, along the shore. They have all sorts of local cheese that you can get in any amount you want. We bought some mighty farmhouse cheddar as well as a fantastic blue. Grab some crackers and a chunk of cheese and head done to Neppy's for a pint to go with it!
*Extra points if you know where "Cheese to meet you" comes from :)
What to buy: CHEEEEESE. Ask for a sample if you are unsure what you like.
We loved the Keen Farmhouse Cheddar and Smoked Blue Wensleydale.
What to pay: Priced per 100grams, it varies.
Located on Whitstable Harbour, the Whitstable Fish Market is a very popular place for visitors to the town. The market stocks fresh seafood - a good variety of fish and shellfish which is caught in the waters off Whitstable. They also have a range of home smoked fish, not to mention lots of local oysters.
Located above the Fish Market is the Crab & Winkle restaurant which is a great place to dine and sample the local catch. There is also a take away section within the downstairs market, which serves up a small selection of hot dishes and more of those lovely oysters.
What to buy: Oysters!