Self-confessed epicureans Gaelle and Frederic Roger have found the perfect way to combine their love of France and Scotland, while indulging their passion for all things gourmet.
Their shop Chez Roger – the latest addition to Bruntsfield’s vibrant foodie scene – opened at the end of last year offering an exclusive range of French produce, personally procured for quality and authenticity.
Both from Luxeuil-les-Bains, a small medieval spa town in the Franche-Comté Region of eastern France, the couple fell in love with Edinburgh during visits to Scotland and decided to make it the base for their first business venture - as well as their home.
“The whole aim of the project was to give people really lovely products that allow them to taste the best of France. Elsewhere, that is not always the case and products that are labelled French are more expensive, but the quality is not always good and customers are disappointed,” says Gaelle, who previously worked in recruitment.
“We want to offer the best traditional and regional products that people won’t find anywhere else – and that means meeting the producers and seeing how things are made.”
Visitors to the shop at 11 Colinton Road will find shelves crammed with jams, honey, sweets, cakes and confectionary and chocolates, along with a selection of healthy snacks, regional dishes, patés, chutneys, fish and vegan terrines, special oils and vinegars, spices, mustards, sauces and mushrooms. The drinks selection includes fine wines, artisanal liqueurs, ciders, cocktail mixes, cordials and tea.
Different from a deli, in that there’s no fresh produce, Chez Roger defines itself as an “épicerie fine”.
“We like to see ourselves as a nice addition to the area, with a shop that’s complementary to the local delis. We often send our customers to them and they send customers to us. They might buy cheese and then come to us for chutney for example.”
Having enjoyed the heightened footfall of the festive season the couple are now bracing themselves for the inevitable impact of Brexit.
“As we import everything ourselves, it’s already complicated for us in terms of logistics, transport and taxes. It would be better without Brexit, but it was always part of our long-term planning so we have to be positive,” adds Gaelle. “We have invested everything in the project and we are working hard to make it a success. Whatever happens we will listen to our customers and adapt because we know we have to.”