The 15th May is the International Day of Families: a time to celebrate being together and focus on strengthening your bond. If you’re planning to mark the occasion with a family picnic, here’s where to fill your hamper while supporting some of Leeds’ best independent businesses.

George & Joseph

Speciality cheesemongers George & Joseph arrived in Leeds in 2012 and they’ve now won a whole host of awards. Their shop in Chapel Allerton is heaven for cheese lovers with all kinds of varieties from all over the globe. Whether you prefer hard or soft cheese, goat’s or ewe’s, you’re sure to find something you adore here. Alongside the finest produce from
France, Italy, Bavaria, Switzerland, Ireland and Spain, George & Joseph stocks cheese from local makers like Shepherd’s Purse and Yorkshire Pecorino. You can also buy alcoholic drinks and preserves here to pair with these, or fresh loaves from the Leeds Bread Coop. The shop’s staff are friendly and knowledgeable but, if you’re located further afield, you can order from their website and have your cheeses delivered directly to your door.

Friends of Ham

Relaxed eaterie Friends of Ham is known for its delicious cheese and charcuterie platters, however, many of the dishes on its menu can also be taken away, so you can enjoy the FRAM experience wherever you like. Call into this modern bar on New Station Street and you can purchase beer, wine and chunky loaves of sourdough. You can also choose from a wide range of award-winning artisan meats, including Ibérico Bellota, known as the ‘king of Spanish Hams’ or Finocchiona – a rustic Italian salami made with wild fennel seeds and pollen. Among the tempting cheeses on offer here are creamy Baron Bigod Brie from Suffolk or ‘smooth and well rounded’ Westcombe Cheddar.


Also located on New Station Street, Laynes has established itself as a firm favourite among Leeds’ coffee lovers. This sunny yellow espresso bar opened back in 2011 and it has been serving fresh coffee and homemade pastries ever since. The baristas here use beans from London roasters Square Mile to brew coffee in all of the classic styles. It can be served with plant-based milk or made caffeine free if you prefer. Laynes’ pastries are baked at their own bakery in Armley and can be bought to take away along with savoury snacks or smooth soft serve ice cream.

Bottle Chop

This wine shop and deli in Headingley is just the place to pick up the perfect bottle of vino. Bottle Chop aims to make natural wines accessible to everyone and it sells vegan, organic and biodynamic bottles from some of the world’s best small vineyards. You’ll find increasingly popular orange wines here, along with the usual red, white, rosé and sparkling. If you’re not a fan of wine, don’t worry – the shop also stocks beer, including cans from the nearby Amity Brew Co. in Farsley. Bottle Chop’s expert team are happy to make recommendations and many of the wines can be sampled to help you make up your mind. Once you’ve discovered your new favourite, this can then be paired with cheese and charcuterie from the shop’s own delicatessen, where you’ll also find goodies like crackers, crisps and olives.

Nova Bakehouse

Described as ‘your neighbourhood bakery’, Nova sells sourdough bread and wonderfully flaky pastries from its bakehouse on the boulevard at Leeds Dock. Nova’s mission is to support farmers and the local community, and its bread is used and loved by businesses throughout Leeds such as Bare Coffee and the North Star Coffee Shop. The bakehouse opens in the morning from Thursday-Sunday and it also has a handy online shop through which orders can be placed for future collection. Nova’s offering is constantly changing but some of its recent treats have included cheddar kimchi croissants, sesame chilli twists and cheese and rye scones. You’ll also find scrumptious cakes and cookies here, along with sandwiches made to order on sourdough focaccia.

Images- @friendsofham, @novabakehouse, @bottlechop