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Pickled Pear: From concept to cafe

Grace is the bubbly, enthusiastic young owner of one of the region's newest independent cafes. The Pickled Pear has just launched in the heart of Darley Dale, near Matlock, at the site of her parents' former pharmacy.

This charming venue has already secured its reputation as a local hotspot thanks to its bespoke artwork courtesy of Grace's sister and, of course, its delicious food and locally-sourced hot brews. Grace is all about doing things homemade and everything on the menu, from the cakes to the quiches, is made fresh in-house.

Starting up her own cafe venture was always a long-held ambition for Grace but it became more fully-fledged in school, as it continued to grow through her love of cooking.

"From a very young age I had wanted to start a cafe, but it first felt within my grasp when I was choosing what GCSEs I wanted to pursue and I decided to take food technology and business studies.

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Grace, owner of the Pickled Pear.

"At 16, I started working for an outside catering company and that just put it all into place for me. It made me realise how much I loved cooking, socialising and being in the kitchen prepping."

This dream, emerging out of hobbies and experiences, became a reality very quickly and completely unexpectedly when Grace's parents sold their pharmacy business after 28 years and the building became vacant.

"It seemed like the ideal opportunity to make my dream a reality and re-open it as the Pickled Pear Cafe. I always knew that I wanted to own a cafe one day, but I never expected it to happen to me at the age of 21!"

Grace documented the slightly daunting process of converting the pharmacy in its various stages on the cafe's new social media platform, along with the many decisions, details and challenges on the way.

"One of the hardest parts for me was choosing everything that went into the cafe, which included the decor and colour schemes, then making sure it all looked good together. My sister, Kate, helped a lot with these bits."

Much of what Grace learnt to prepare for these decisions and tasks was self-taught, or came from hours spent creating Pinterest mood boards.

And where did the name come from?

"I did a chalet catering course in Bath in September 2017 and we made a pickled pear chutney. From then on, the name Pickled Pear just stuck with me."

This has clearly always been a family affair, and it seems that Grace's sister Kate, who works as a textile designer, was pre-destined to be the cafe's logo designer, as well as creating a custom font based on a mix of both the sisters' handwriting.

Now the cafe is up and running, providing a thriving, community hub. The warm and friendly environment makes this the perfect stop to grab a coffee and have a bit of chit-chat. It's these traits that Grace takes great pride in.

"It's spacious, light and a hub in the local community for all age groups. We get a lot of regulars who meet at the cafe for drinks, cakes and lunches. "I wanted it to be a cafe that prides itself on producing fresh, homemade foods and I'm so pleased we are achieving that."

The cafe has strong ties to the other small businesses in the local area too, and makes the most out of the rest of the region's delicious foodie scene. For the food and drink that can't be made in store, Grace sources it all from local providers.

"Our coffee is amazing quality and is hand roasted to order by Trevor, who owns Smith Street Coffee Roasters in Sheffield. I'm not normally a big coffee drinker, but I do love his. All of our tea is loose leaf and comes from Northern Tea Merchants in Chesterfield.

"All of our supplies are locally sourced. All of our meat comes from E.W Coates Butchers in Two Dales, our fresh fruit, veg, milk and cream all comes from John Palin in Tansley, dry goods all come from Holdsworth in Tideswell, and our bread comes from Wye Bakehouse in Bakewell."

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Looking toward the future of Pickled Pear, Grace is hoping to get a drinks license so that they can extend their opening hours for evening events too. One other idea on the agenda is an extra area in the cafe where the team can sell the artisan food products that they source in, as well as products made in the kitchen, like their chutneys.

I asked Grace what is the best thing about her new role in her new venue.

"I absolutely love meeting new customers and showing them what we can offer and inviting in the locals that I got to know whilst working for my parents in the pharmacy.

"It's wonderful to provide the local community with good quality homemade food in a relaxing, modern environment. I have a great team behind me that put in the hours and hard work to keep my dream alive! I couldn't do any of this on my own and I know how lucky I am to have them.

"I just can't wait to see where the business takes me in the future!"

Learn more

Pickled Pear Cafe is not currently open due to coronavirus and is not doing deliveries, but they're ready to come back fighting when it's safe to do so.

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