Visit to the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills

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As the 2008 Pandemic King of Chili, I was awarded a gift card to Crate and Barrel.  I thought the closest one to my house was way out in Torrance , a thrity minute drive, so I had been putting off the trip.  And I wasn’t all that excited about what my gift card could buy.  Originally the prize was for Sur La Table, which had a lot more cook’s goodies.  At the last minute, they decided to change it to the other, as they thought it would be more useful to the general population. So I was, in a way, protesting the change.

My husband surprised me by going online, finding a closer store, and planning a day around it. The store was in Beverly Hills, and, unknown to me at the time, across the street from the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills .

After browsing the Crate and Barrel for 30 minutes, trying to find the best, most practical multi-tasker that my kitchen and life would really benefit from, we stepped outside for a stroll.  It was then that I saw it, a small dark green canopy with the name printed on the front; the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills.  If I wasn’t paying attention, reading the signs as I waited for the crosswalk, I wouldn’t have noticed it.  I had read about it in a couple different places, though I cannot remember where or what was said about it, more than it was a good place to go.  My husband kindly gave me the nod, and I hurried inside the shop.  The smell was overwhelming as soon as I entered; smell of aged cheese.  Musky, deep, and penetrating, if I had not known I just entered a cheese shop I might been bothered by it.  My eyes browsed the shelves of cheese before me, stacked, crowded together on waist-high levels, no case or glass separated us.   Most were not packaged, just big wheels, topped by a smaller cut ones.  Excitedly, I stepped forward to be helped.  Nothing had signs or prices, so I was really unsure where to start.  I asked for a new cheese I had met and savoured on a day at my brother-in-laws.  They did not have that particular cheese, at the moment, but suggested another similar.  It was a small wheel of domestic sheep’s cheese, and could only be bought by the quarter wheel.  In the heat of the moment, I accepted, asking for two others by name, ricotta salata and Provolone Picante.  Another caught my eye, from the Lazio region it Italy(where I lived for 2 years), with peppercorns.  I’ll take that, oh, and some nitrate-free salami, a quarter pound.

As I mentioned before, there were  no prices written anywhere, and not wanting to be uncool, I didn’t ask.  I assumed it would be more than I expected and tried not to care.  But I was shocked and tried not to show it, or let it affect my experience.  $45! for four small pieces of cheese and some salami!

My husband asked as soon as he saw me.  And he was, of course, suprised as well.  But we both agreed that it was worth the experience, something that had to be done, if only once, just to experience first-hand.

I don’t think I will be making any special trips there any time soon.  My local chef-supply store, Surfas, has a pretty complete cheese counter; that, combined with the selection at Trader Joe’s and Costco, and I am pretty good.  And in dire circumstance, there is always Whole Foods.

Ultimately, the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills is a really wonderful store with a greater selection of cheese than most people have ever known.  If someone is a cheese connoisseur, needs to find something highly unusual, or just wants to experience cheese in all it’s grandeur, then it is worth the trip.  But if you have a budget and are content with what is locally available, save your money.

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2 Comments on “Visit to the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills”

  1. January 16, 2009 at 3:24 am #

    First of all, what’s this award you won???

    Second of all, what did you end up buying at Crate and Barrel?

    • melissadavisfood
      January 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

      I won a chili cook-off last year at Pandemic Studios (see My first cooking award). I bought some enameled cast-iron baking dishes, and a large enameled stock pot. Fun, Fun! I think I will post them, my new gear! Thanks Sarah:)

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