, , ,

The Day I Met Piave. . .

[ Saturday, October 27, 2007 | Leave a Comment ]
The day I met Piave, the very first taste was love. You think I'm joking, but it's true.

Let's Talk About Cheese Shops, Baby

This past Saturday, we went cheese-trying, which quickly turned into cheese-buying (as it often does) - to test and try out some cheeses for our first wine and cheese party this Saturday. The first stop was Alex Farm Products at Bayview and just south of Eglinton, while the second, the Cheese Emporium, was just around the corner at Avenue and Eglinton. Both had quite the variety of cheeses, while different in selection - but being Saturday afternoon, it seemed that store keeps and the real cheese experts, had little patience for those "trying" rather than "buying."

All day I searched high and low for my beloved Prima Donna, a cheese I discovered last year at my beloved Global Cheese store in Kensington market (by far one of the best cheese shops in Toronto, in terms of knowledgable, friendly service). Cheese Magic is good, too, but the claustrophobia often takes over. CM's great because they refrigerate a lot more than GC, though. Cheese Boutique on South Kingsway is amazing, but a little farther off :)

Back to our story. Alas, neither CE nor AF had to me, what was my "grail" of cheeses.

It was then that Rico at CE (his name wasn't really Rico, but I like calling him Rico) suggested I try a 4 year old Gouda - which would be "better" than my Prima Donna. That finished on the tongue as rather salty and so I declined.

The mark of a real cheese expert, like Rico, despite his impatience at 2 foolish beginner cheese appreciators - is his/her mastery and skill to match a cheese to a person. Much like Ollivander with wands, this skill must be appreciated: to be able to read one's very distinct and specific taste preferences, and try and match the perfect degree of saltiness, age, moistness, dryness, nut or fruit flavour, taste experience - all in one palm sized piece of cheese. Truly a gift, and possibly required years of intensive training in monasteries to develop.

That was how I met Prima Donna last year, and how I met Piave on Saturday. Piave is made in the Piave River Valley region of Belluno, Italy - and is a sweet and delicate cheese, and the block we tried was slightly aged and thus dry, but had a full and bold flavour with a little bit of crunch and nuttyness, especially near the end. Absolutely beautiful.

It was as if I was flying free, high in the skies - until I met Roquefort (scary music duh duh duh) - and fell 50 feet in the air, while breaking my arm hitting the ground.

Despite my love and my experience in cheese, I have learned that in the world of cheese, humility is always required. And so it was at CE, soonafter Piave, that I met my greatest challenge thus far: a very blue, moldy, and veined Roquefort that stung the tongue and made my head spin. Roquefort is known as one of the "king of cheeses" and I know that, much like coffee when you are 5 years old, Roquefort is something that grows on you with enough cheese experience.

Until then, I am amateur enough to be able to say - should someone really eat something with that much moldy blue in it? ;) Don't forget to RSVP for the Wine + Cheese Party by Wed/Oct/31/07 - you'll meet Roquefort in the "try if you dare" course.


  • hm park said:  

    Cheese Gromit Cheese! I can't wait =)

  • Post a Comment