February 27, 2008

A Cheese Field Trip

As I sat on my friend's terrace nibbling a bit of rich, buttery Comté under warm, sunny skies last Saturday, I realized just how far I've come from my pastry chef days.

You see, I had just been offered dessert, a colorful selection of cassis, cherry or apple tartlettes, and politely declined each and every one. I was happy to just sit there and work my way around the abundant cheese platter they had placed on the table.
I actually chose cheese over dessert. My how things have changed!

So, it should come as no surprise that I will go pretty far out of my way to discover a new cheese shop or to visit a small cheese producer.

My sister is also a cheese enthusiast so while visiting her in California we decided that a little field trip to The Cheese Shop in Carmel was in order.

The Cheese Shop - Carmel

Carmel is only about 45 minutes south of her home so we jumped in the car one morning and drove on down.

the selection was impressive

It was a warm, welcoming and friendly place with shelves crammed with cheese, wine and gourmet foods from around the world.

They happily offered a taste of any cheese you were interested in. And we took full advantage of that!

We finally made our choices and purchased some wine, bread, chocolate, a piece of creamy Fourme d'Ambert, some sublime Humboldt Fog, an aged Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Brie de Meaux and a very special Parmigiano-Reggiano Vacche Rosse.

It was a very successful field trip!

The Cheese Shop - Carmel
Carmel Plaza (lower level)
Ocean and Junipero
Carmel, CA 93921

Finally...the cheesiest photo ever! Pin It


Danielle said...

Wow, that cheese store looks great! Makes me miss being a cheesemonger.

I've enjoyed reading your blog for a few weeks; I happened to find it while you were in New Orleans for Carnival season. That made me nostalgic, too, because I grew up in Baton Rouge, and haven't been to a Mardi Gras parade in many years. Your posts really communicated the fun atmosphere. It's relaxing and warming to read your blog. Keep it up! :)

La Belette Rouge said...

I want some of that fig cake and lots and lots of cheese! Delicious post.

Function of Time said...

One of these days I am going to buy a big round of cheese and pretend I am Wallace or Gromit.

Robyn Vickers said...

How wonderful that shop looks! It puts anything we have here to shame, and I'm green with envy. There's no better way to spend a chilly winter evening than with a tray of gorgeous cheeses and bits and bobs and a great wine.

Loulou said...

Welcome and thanks so much for the kind comment!
You were a cheesemonger? I am green with envy! What took you away from such a rewarding (and smelly) profession?
Glad you liked the posts about New Orleans. We lived there before we moved to France and I hold a special place in my heart for that city. You should go back for a visit!
I had a look at Savor Culture and loved reading it! I'm adding you to my blogroll.

la belette rouge
Doesn't that fig cake look good? We should have tried some. Oh well...

function of time,
Great idea! Hope you have a good trip to France and that you get to enjoy some cheese while you're here.

It was an amazing shop! They ship cheese and might be able to send you some in Toronto. You should have a look at their site!
Hope winter ends soon. You guys have had a long one this year.

amy said...

YUM... I'd choose cheese over dessert anyday (but I've never had a sweet tooth). I'm wondering what you thought about that cheese shop compared to some of the cheese shops in your neck of the woods in France. I just can't imagine them ever really comparing? Except maybe that the French cheese shops may not offer as many cheese from outside of France and the Cali one has cheese from all over the world? - Amy @ http://www.weareneverfull.com

Loulou said...

good question!
The Cheese Shop had a much better International choice, that's for sure. Here - and I can only speak for my experience here in our neck of the woods, not for all of France - there is just French cheese, maybe a bit of Swiss or Italian, possibly Dutch. That's it.
The prices in Carmel (not surprisingly) were pretty high! One example: Epoisses- the same one that I bought for €6 was almost $30! But the cheese did have to travel some distance to get there.

I'm currently working on a list of cheese shops around America/Canada, so if you or anyone have recommendations and observations to send my way, I'd appreciate it.