Remember when we were kids and they wanted to take our photo, they would say “say fromage,” and I have family throughout Ontario in Canada and we always said “cheese.” Cheese is often associated with wine and most people are absolutely perfect with that concept. I am sorry to say that I am the worst cheese eater, you may ever meet. I am not sure where it occurred of if it is just my taste buds, but I am lucky if I can tolerate cheese made from cow’s milk. I have tried cheese from buffalo, goat, sheep and I am sure there must be others and none of them work for me. Goat cheese for some odd reason, always tastes like chalk to me and Romano cheese tastes like soap to me, so I have given up. Bleu cheese that is everyone’s favorite, we won’t even go there. All of which is probably good for me, as I have a history of kidney stones and dairy products are a no-no for me, and that is a good medical and technical term. The funny thing is that I still like the taste of certain cheeses. I would never be able to be John Cleese in the old Monty Python skit about the “Cheese Shop” with bouzouki music in the background, as I don’t know if I can ever pronounce all of the cheeses that he recites in an inquiry.
All of which is a prelude to an independent shop that we recently visited, because it was touted by our dear friend The Wine Raconteur Jr. My Bride has always brought up a cheese shop that we enjoyed visiting every time we have been to Carmel-by-the-Sea, and I have to admit that it was the most impressive shop that I have been to, though I am sure that there are others, but we normally don’t wander into cheese emporiums. The Cheese Lady totally reminded my Bride of that shop and she was agog. Of course, they did not have just Swiss cheese, she had to get fancier in her pursuit and I was kind of giggling on the inside, but that does sound mean of me. She kept ordering types of cheese and they would wrap up one cheese and then go and unwrap another cheese, and prior to slicing a wedge they would make a wide sliver with a special cheese tool, and would break the sliver in half, so that both of us could taste the cheese. Then she asked if they sold that tool, because she has always been told that they were not for sale, here they said yes and she bought two different sizes of them. She also saw these beautiful marble versions of the cheese mandolin that they were using to slice the hunks of cheese for us. I can see that there will be some cheese paraphernalia that some people will receive for either Christmas or Birthday gifts, she was on a roll. While they had mandolins, I did not see a bouzouki. As she was getting ready to make her purchase, she saw the bargain remnants of cheese, beautifully wrapped and the sales tag also described the cheese that was inside, and several of those were picked up as well. There is an old expression in retailing that purchasing is infectious, and though I refrained from all of the fancy prepared foods, though I was tempted, another trip is called for, though I did find a chink in my armor, Dark Chocolate coated Marzipan from Germany, actually it is more like Krypton for me.
Of course, I found out after the fact, that there was wine at the shop as well and that they have periodic wine tastings. Junior thought that Senior might do well to attend and perhaps I can, the next time I hear of a tasting. A very small collection, but well thought out for some interesting wines for them to sell, that are not found all over. I mentioned to the people that were helping us out about missing the wine tasting, but they told us that they had a wine open that they were giving people a taste of. We tried Cantina Pedres “Brino” Vermentino di Gallura DOCG 2017 from Sardinia, Italy. The Mancini family has been in wine production in Italy since the late 1800’s and in 2002 they released the first wines of Cantina Pedres featuring the best of the grapes from Gallura, Sardinia. Vermentino is also known by other names like Pigato, Favorita and Rolle and there is quite a bit of discussion of where the grape originally came from, but that is out of my realm as a raconteur. Vermentino di Gallura is Sardinia’s only DOCG appellation and covers a large area in the north end of the island. It was originally DOC in 1975, but was conferred as DOCG in 1996 recognizing the uniqueness of the wine. The wine is aged for around four months in Stainless Steel to maintain the fruit, and it is a nice straw-colored wine that offers floral notes and finishes with some acidity and minerals. I am glad to say that even as we finally left, there was no bouzouki strings in the background, and we will be back.