All cheese, real cheese anyway, is a product of a few simple ingredients; milk, salt, starter culture, and rennet. Remarkable then, that we find ourselves continuously awed by the diversity and complexity of flavor that expert cheesemakers develop in this fermented food of such humble origin. It’s incredible. And also incredibly difficult to make, to make not just any cheese but truly inspired, sophisticated, artisan cheese. The kinds you’ll find in our cheese case and on these plates.

We simply love it. Cheese brings us joy, smiles, laughter. Picks us up when we’re down. Brings us closer together.

And really, at its core, cheesemaking is a method of preservation. It exists to bring new life to milk, to keep it from spoiling, going to waste. It is fitting then, that this is our job as cheesemongers too, preservation, to help to keep traditions alive, to grow anew. We are storytellers.

So it is that we have a simple catering menu with perhaps too many words. But each of these plates has a story to tell. We hope you share them. Enjoy them with loved ones. And to help you choose which plate is right for each occasion, our menu consists of three themes/series: Get to Know, A Sense of Place, and Simply Eating Together.

MOTHER’S DAY


GET TO KNOW

Our Get to Know Series offers a chance to better understand (or to simply enjoy!) specific styles or types of cheese. It’s a deep dive, or maybe a free fall. Rather, it might just be a place to begin a journey, to find something new or reevaluate something we’d thought we knew. Even as experienced cheesemongers, we are constantly learning and growing through experience. We can still be surprised, for example, when trying a new cheese for the first time, that goat cheese could be this! or I can’t believe 36-months aging does this! The Get to Know Series is an exploration of those kinds of moments, where suddenly, our taste buds explode and our worlds expand.

GET TO KNOW: GOUDA

It’s all good-a. That’s a good-a cheese. Okay, that’s enough puns. Anyway, it’s pronounced rhow-da. (As in rhow-da heck is this cheese so good?) Coated in a wax-rind, often a brightly colored one, gouda is one of the most recognizable cheeses in the world. And yet, we most often see gouda as a young cow’s milk cheese, mild and creamy. With this plate, we’ll see what more gouda has to offer. Here, you’ll taste the intense wonder that is an aged gouda; finding bold nutty notes. And you’ll find the richness offered by a goat’s milk and/or sheep’s milk gouda.

GET TO KNOW: GOAT’S MILK

If asked to close our eyes and imagine goat cheese, most of us would see a pillowy, white log of fresh cheese. And maybe we love that log and maybe we don’t, but either way we’re selling goat cheese short if that’s the only kind we see. From goudas to cheddars to blues, from fresh to lactic soft-ripened to firm aged ones… goat cheese is everything! The featured cheeses will change based on what’s in our cheese case, but this plate will always be a celebration of goat cheese.

GET TO KNOW: CHARCUTERIE

Charcuterie is the centuries-old culinary tradition of preserving meats, a branch of French cooking that includes cured meats such as salami and prosciutto, as well as pâté, confits, and terrines. There will be no cheese on this real deal charcuterie plate, just delicious meats from a handful of the best artisan producers in the US; including Smoking Goose, Olympia Provisions, Casella’s Salumi, Larchmont Charcuterie, and a rotating local specialty from Fat Butcher.

Specific selections will change based upon availability, but you can expect a wide range of meats; pork, beef, duck, elk, and lamb. And of course, classic accompaniments such as cornichons, olives, house-pickled vegetables, mustard, and French butter.

Upon request, sliced three-year aged Jamon Iberico (100% Iberico breed) may be added to the plate. Although a departure from our domestic-themed charcuterie case, we make an exception for this Spanish import. The richness of this meat is luxurious, a quality that begins with the pigs grazing on a diet of acorns and is harnessed through specific aging practices.


A SENSE OF PLACE

One of the greatest gifts eating cheese gives us is the feeling of being transported to another place. To travel without traveling. And this isn’t just some romantic nonsense either, as the flavors and aromas of cheese are, among other things, an expression of its terroir. When we’re picking up notes of grass in a Camembert, it’s not just any grass we’re tasting, it’s de Normandie.

The way terroir influences and develops flavor also explains why traditional food pairings often are natural ones. Products specific to a region, grown and raised from the same soil, often develop flavors that just simply and naturally make sense together. Ossau Iraty with Basque Cherry Jam or Brie with a glass of Champagne come immediately to mind, but there are more of these than we have time to explore in a lifetime.

With A Sense of Place, our goal is to take you somewhere. With Terroir Spotlights, that will be a literal geographical place, a specific creamery even. In the others, we’ll be a little more poetic, trying to capture an idea, conjure up the image of sailor returning home from sea or a herder with his flock in the mountains.

TERROIR SPOTLIGHT: PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania, one of the country’s leading dairy producers, is home to our little cheese shop in Pittsburgh, as well as to a growing number of excellent artisan cheese makers who are combining old world traditions with modern practices. Our favorites include Goat Rodeo (Pittsburgh), The Farm at Doe Run (Coatesville), Valley Milkhouse (Oley), and Perrystead Dairy (the urban cheesemakers of Philadelphia). A rotating selection of cheeses from these dairies make up the heart of this plate, a tasting course in the best cheeses Pennsylvania has to offer.

The accompaniments are (mostly) local as well, featuring two delicious spreads – our made-in-house veggie pâté (mushroomy, rich, and peppery) and a fruit butter from Tait Farm Foods (Centre Hall). You’ll also find a sampling of house-pickled locally-grown vegetables and seasonal fruit. Finally, we couldn’t resist adding a crunchy snack to the plate, even if Quicos aren’t from around here (they’re from Spain!)

HERDER’S SELECT

A tray of rustic cheese favorites with an emphasis on big animal flavors, accompanied by pastoral condiments and cured meats! This platter emphasizes terroir and the tradition of European cheesemaking from grazing to your plate.

MARITIME

A taste of the bounty of the deep with cheeses and accoutrement for a chic, sophisticated platter that will satisfy the landlocked gourmand. A great way to explore serving fine tinned seafood conservas without the stress of the fishmarket. Featuring specialties from French Brittany and Spanish Basque Country.


SIMPLY EATING TOGETHER

Cheese is for any occasion, that much is a clear-cut fact. And we are firm believers that the act of sharing food can bring us closer together. It’s a big part of why we do what we do here! But we know that people’s tastes and dietary choices and restrictions vary widely. It is often difficult to feed a crowd of friends let alone a crowd of strangers. Or find something vegan friendly. These selections are designed with some of that in mind.

SAFE BET 2.0

This plate has been curated with the understanding that each and every one of us is on our own, personal cheese journey. The Safe Bet 2.0 is an introduction of sorts, a selection of crowd-pleasing cheeses that are familiar yet worthy of cheese-plate treatment. For the novice, it is a welcoming invitation to the world of artisan cheese. For the more experienced cheese-lover, it is something you can enjoy yourself while looking for converts sharing with friends. And there will be fig spread. Everyone loves fig spread.

THE VEGETARIAN

Featuring a rotating selection of cheeses made without the use of animal rennet, The Vegetarian is exactly what it says it is, vegetarian friendly. With our made-in-house vegetable pâté on the plate, we even have the umami-rich accompaniment that will satisfy your meat-eating friends and family. Seasonal, local pickled vegetables too!

THE VEGAN

Yes, vegan! With this plate, we’ll have everything from The Vegetarian, but with an assortment of our made-in-house cashew-based spreads instead of the milk ones.

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