October 8, 2009

Around the World with Cheese!

There's nothing like a wedge of cheese, some charcuterie, and (lots of) red wine to make us feel that all is well in the world.  

This is probably why, when we walk about and come across a cheese shop, we inevitably sample to our hearts' content and always leave with a few new cheeses to share at home.

Here is our ode to the cheeses and cheese shops we've recently enjoyed!

Whenever we're in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, we make sure to stop off at Bedford Cheese Shop.  The shop is charming and despite the large variety, is never over-whelming.  Perhaps it's because the staff as always been friendly and easy-going in offering samples and suggestions.
We came away with these 3 cheeses.  The Ossau-Iraty (also known as Istara) is a creamy, nutty French sheep's milk cheese.  The Zamorano is a hard sheep's milk cheese from Spain.  It's a sharper, nuttier, and richer cheese versus Manchego.  For dessert, we had the Lemon Baked Ricotta, which is a religious experience in itself!  If you like lemon and airy cheesecake, this cheese is for you!
We've posted a few times about Despana, a Spanish stores that features a large selection of authentic Spanish food and drink products.

We chose two Spanish sheep's milk cheeses.  The Roncal (left) was nutty and chewy and fairly similar to the Manchego, our usual sheep's milk cheese selection.

When we visit Toronto, we make sure to stop off at A Taste of Quebec.  This Quebecois cheese shop shares it space with an art gallery, making the area itself a fun and interesting destination.

Le 1608 is from Laiterie Charlevoix in Quebec, Canada.  What's interesting about this cheese is that is uses milk from Champlain cows, whose ancestors were brought over from France in 1608 (also when Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City). This was a very stinky cheese (some would call it "earthy", others would say "barnyard") with a nutty taste.
We loved the dramatic black rind on Le Chevre Noir.  It's another Quebecois goat's milk cheese made by Fromagerie Tournevent.  This was definitely different as this was cheddar-like in style versus the usual crumbly or creamy goat cheeses.  It was buttery, with a touch of caramel sweetness and a very long finish.  It would go well with a light, fruity or country-style wine...and we thought it would also go well with espresso.

A Taste of Quebec is located at The Distillery District, building 32 (off Distillery Lane) in Toronto, Canada.
Bedford Cheese Shop is located at 229 Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Despana is located at 408 Broome St. (btwn Lafayette and Cleveland Pl) in NYC.


  1. I love cheese too, almost any kind of artisan cheese would do. It would be great to have a cheese tasting one day with friends.

  2. @Divina Pe: Definitely agree! A cheese tasting with friends sounds like a great way to unwind after a hard day at the office!

  3. I love cheese and this would be an awesome tasting! Yum!

  4. I've only had the pleasure of trying the Ossau-Iraty from this list, but it's a life goal to try as many cheeses as possible, so thanks for adding a few more for me! :)

  5. @tastyeatsathome - Thanks! All we were missing were photos of vino!

    @Brie - I knew you'd love this post! =) I love how there are so many types of cheeses - sweet, savory, hard, and soft - that you can never get tired of them!

  6. I love roncal, it's one of my favorites!

  7. @Fresh Local and Best - Being addicted to sheep's milk cheese, Roncal is now one of our faves too!

  8. I am dripping with envy! Hven't seen the lemon ricotta since my days as a cheese monger in Seattle--thanks for that happy taste-memory. And three cheers for Ossau Iraty. It's in my top 3 for sure. Esp. nice with a little membrillo (quince paste).

  9. Wow, Zamorano and Roncal... good choice.

  10. oh gosh! lots of fantastic cheeses to try out with some gourmet crackers. I have passed by the Beford Cheese Shop before and I have always wanted to stop by and see what kind of cheeses they have to offer. Now I must make the trek back to Willamsburg to have a look :)

  11. Yum, I love trying new cheeses! This post makes me want a slice now! :)

  12. How embarrassing! This is right in my neighborhood, and I'm not sure I've ever noticed it. I'm a fan of Murray's, but this seems like more of a personal experience. Thanks for the recommendation, and I can't wait to visit now.

  13. A good story

    GK Chesterton: “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

    Voila: www.tastingtoeternity.com. This book is a poetic view of 30 of the best loved French cheeses with an additional two odes to cheese. Recipes, wine pairing, three short stories and an educational section complete the book.

    From a hectic life in New York City to the peace and glories of the French countryside lead me to be the co-founder of www.fromages.com. Ten years later with the words of Pierre Androuet hammering on my brain:

    “Cheese is the soul of the soil. It is the purest and most romantic link between humans and the earth.”

    I took pen and paper; many reams later with the midnight oil burning Tasting to Eternity was born and self published.

    I believe cheese and wine lovers should be told about this publication.



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