Anyone approaching the turquoise awning over an artisan food store and eatery on the corner of St Peter’s Court in Chalfont St Peter, could quite reasonably imagine they’ve been transported to London’s Westbourne Grove.

Unsurprisingly, the Kitchen Larder, which opened its mimosa-wreathed doors on an impressive glass frontage five years ago has been a hit with visitors both locally and farther afield.

It has made its mark nationally - voted 2021 winner of the Muddy Stilettos Farm shop/ Deli category for the Bucks/Oxon region, and finalist of the Farm Shop and Deli Retailer Awards 2022. It was Trip Advisor’s multiple Travellers’ Choice winner.

Selling local artisan delicacies from jams and cakes to cheeses, charcuterie and chutneys - and everything in between - the family-run Kitchen Larder boasts specially-selected produce that you wouldn’t find in a supermarket.

“People don’t come here for their weekly food shop,” says owner, Rachel Williams. “It’s about adding a treat to your daily life, buying an ingredient that’s going to make tonight’s dinner better. Food is how I show love to my family and we like to think we spread that around."

Delicious breakfast bowls and brunches are served from seasonal menus featuring salads and homemade soups. The KL-styled sourdough toasts, toasties and bagels, which include a pastrami and vintage cheddar-filled New Yorker, and a dill and leaf-dressed smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel, pack quite a punch.

This week and next, an Easter-themed window looks onto a sumptuous-looking table, adorned with treat-filled baskets and Easter cakes. The confectionary corner is quite literally choc-full with Easter eggs from hand-picked chocolatiers.

Bucks Free Press: Pictured: Rachel Williams owns the Kitchen Larder or 'KL'  in Chalfont St Peter

The secret to the success of this local business, is says Williams, “down to the love and care that we invest in our shop so that customers keep returning”.

The KL brand coffee has got everyone talking for miles around. “Selecting the house blend was a long journey, visiting coffee exhibitions and small roasteries,” explains Williams. “In the end, I went with a medium roast Columbian blend. The taste starts off really fruity - toffee apple and stoned fruit - while the end note is that natural sweetness of dark chocolate”.

Williams credits her baristas with the perfect cup of coffee, saying, “I know that a coffee can make or break someone’s day”.

Doors officially open at 8am but local tradesmen sometimes catch breakfast as early as 7.30am. Rachel’s day usually begins at 5am, although she’s known to start at 3.30am if she has a big event to cater.

“After 8am, nursery and school mums and commuting parents will start arriving. After that we become a social hub for our older demographic and those working from home. I get to know all my customers. If I haven’t seen someone in a while, I get worried. Two ladies come in once a month, they live over two hours away but they’ll meet up here, have their coffee, brunch, and later more coffee with cake. They make a social event of it.”

Williams champions local business and sources products from small but ‘exceptional’ suppliers.

“I enjoy those one-on-one relationships with all of them, including our wonderful cake bakers, Joanna’s Cakes in Amersham, and Matt of He Bakes, Chesham. The Cinnamon Square bakery in Rickmansworth is, Williams says, ‘off the scale for taste’. “They hand delivered red velvet buns for Valentine’s Day and we’ve just introduced their new Belgian chocolate bun with ganache. Most famous though are their award-winning cinnamon buns”.

High Wycombe based, Teacups and Tandems, provided hand-made biscuits for a New York themed ten-year old’s birthday party - the shop was recreated as an NYC diner. Tea and Tandems also makes the famous counter-top Horace biscuits, named after Williams’ Schnauzer.

The award-winning Lacey’s Farm in High Wycombe supplies creamy Guernsey milk, “another reason our coffee tastes so good”. The Great Taste-rated Two Spoons in Chesham provides speciality teas.

Williams tells me, “I love going to farmers’ markets and food exhibitions, exploring the eateries in London. When I find something that tastes unique, I want to share it with people.

"One of our best sellers is the Haynes Gourmet red-candied jalapenos, which we add to the Kitchen Larder’s signature avocado and barrel-aged feta sourdough toasts”.

Following a successful corporate career, Williams, 53, waited until her 40s before ‘cashing in all my chips’ and starting her search for the perfect premises in which to set up an artisan shop. She eventually found the perfect spot, the old HSBC bank in St Peter’s Court. It took a labour of love to transform the banking hall into the light, airy space it is now.

The hamper and gifting side of the business is growing and completely takes over the Christmas season when, say locals, the shop turns into a ‘festive foodie heaven’. “It is a joy to put a hamper together,” says Williams.

“Someone comes in and says, ‘My best friend is going through breast cancer treatment. I need, to create a healthy gift,’ and they literally pour love into it. Each hamper has a personal narrative, just like everything in the shop has been hand-picked for a reason”.

The country went into lockdown nine months after Williams opened but as a food emporium, business flourished. “Covid strengthened our links with the community,” says Rachel. “For many, we were the only social contact that people had, albeit it through a glass screen dividing us. Later we were able to put spaced tables outside and people’s confidence slowly returned”.

Even in cold weather, customers still like to sit outside on the forecourt and enjoy their coffee. In the summer, there is a distinct Mediterranean feel, especially when iced lattes clinking in highball G and T glasses are brought out on trays.

Williams says that catering is a real passion for her team. “One minute we’re delivering boardroom breakfasts and thinking up menus for big VIP events, and the next we’ll be catering for a hen party, baby shower or wedding reception. One of my favourite occasions was an 80th birthday party for a gentleman in his home. We designed a menu of all his favourite foods. It was a great honour too to do a wake for 300 people at the church hub for a local business man.

“We don’t go to destinations beyond which food can travel safely but we’ll cover Gerrards Cross, Chalfonts, Denham, Amersham, Chesham, Rickmansworth and the surrounding areas”.

Last summer, Williams provided a bride’s breakfast in Chalfont St Giles. “What a joy it was to step into someone’s home on the morning of their daughter’s wedding and deliver breakfast for the bride and bridesmaids in their rollers, having their make-up done. It’s times like those I feel like we’re transporting some homespun love through our food.”

Williams is keen to give back to the community. “For a CSP Montessori Christmas event, we set up a grazing station at the counter. Every member of staff was given a gift to fill their hamper. We’ve also provided biscuits for craft activities to teach children the joy of baking”.

The Kitchen Larder provided the Chalfont Community College with a luxury hamper to raffle off as their centrepiece, and gave Robertswood School produce to sell at their PTA fair. “I do what I can for the environment too and we donated our coffee grinds to our local nursery for their allotment. That was a project that the children really enjoyed.”

The Kitchen Larder supports the Thames Hospice Support Group and Cancer Research, charities close to the Williams family’s hearts. This year Kidney Research UK is the chosen charity following Rachel’s brother’s recent transplant.

“For me, living in this area is a privilege,” concludes Williams. “The high street will evolve and adapt. If you’ve got a place that is good and reliable then people will use it”.

The Kitchen Larder is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 8am until 3pm and will open on Good Friday. Indoor and outside seating available until 2pm.