So in my life, I love a lot of things.
I love my family.
I love my friends.
I love Mr. Beans and Maddie.
I love beer.
I love chocolate.
I love cheese.
If that's too much for you, just focus on the last one. I love cheese. All kinds of cheese. I don't care if it's sheep, goat, cow, or canary cheese. I love the hard stuff and the soft stuff. The sweet, the stinky, the smooth, and the salty. Give me cheese.
My family has jokes about cheese. I'm not kidding. "Go to the freezer, get the cheese." Hang around us long enough, and you're bound to hear it. To add to that, one of the first trips BM and I ever took together when we started dating involved a stop at Hilmar Cheese Company just outside of Merced. No, we didn't drive up there just to go there. But we had a darn good time there!
So one day, a friend of mine sent an invitation on Facebook to the grand opening of a cheese shop in Claremont. Sometimes, when people send these things it's because it's their friend's, brother's, cousin's, neighbor's, ex-wife's shop opening. I skip those. But this time, something magical happened: I actually knew the person opeing the shop! I'd gone to high school with her, and if you know anything about my high school, you know there aren't that many people that graduated from that school. We knew just about everyone, even if you weren't close friends.
So a few weeks ago, I packed up BM and we met my madre, padre, and our friend Kirkus at Espiau's for some cheese salads. Then we walked up the street to the grand opening extravaganza for The Cheese Cave.
Best day ever.
I got to eat a cheese filled salad. Yum. I got to see friends from high school I haven't seen in months or even years. Yay. Then I got to sample and shop for cheeses and all sorts of yummy things to eat with cheeses! Yes.
Olive oil. Jams. Jellies. Preserves. Chocolate. Nuts. Sauces. Crackers. Vinegars.
The Pioneer Woman always says that Rachel Zoe says "I die" when she loves something.
I don't like Rachel Zoe, but let's just say this, I die.
I bought 2 cheeses on the recommendation of the employees, and I loved them. Then I got this.
Jalepeno Jelly! It is so good! I die. It's spicy, sure. But not blow your head off spicy. It's sweet. It's got chunks of jalepeno in like it's a marmelade (my absolute favorite). I eat it with cheese and toast. Any cheese. Any toast. I really like it with blue cheese though, I'm partial!
I stopped in again last week. I thought the shop had a lot of things at the opening, but I was wrong. Now they make sandwiches. Now they carry wine and beer. Now they have even more cheese than before.
Yesterday, I stopped in for salt. That's all I needed. Salt. There were 5 kinds to chose from!
Fluer de Sel. It's French. That makes it inevitibly cool, right? Well, maybe not but I think so! There were a bunch of flavored Spanish salts as well, but my budget was for one salt and I had something very specific in mind for it...that's top secret!
My co-worker asked me to get her a triple creme, so I tasted about 3 or 4 cheeses and found one to bring her. It was rough, but someone had to do it. Just kidding! Marnie handed me a couple of little wood scoops or paddles with cheese on them and they were all deicious! I just picked the one that tasted the most like what my co-worker had described to me.
Then I began to get inspired. First with the ingredients. I want to make all sorts of things when I'm standing in that shop!
Next, I wished I had my camera. I think I'm going to beg Marnie & Lyddie to let me photograph the shop one day. The cheese. The shelves. The giant cow. Do you think it's wrong to beg? I really, super, duper, wanna take my Nikon over there and go nuts. I might beg. Maybe I'll bring them something yummy and just casually mention, "Hey! I have a camera that works really well!"
Alright. I'm a dork.
My tongue was satisfied with cheese. My nose was satisfied with salt. My ears were satisfied with hearing the voices of old and new friends. My fingers were satisfied picking up all the goodies to try. My eyes were satisfied with the layout of the store (and all the things I wanted to photograph!). They hit all five of my senses, which means they've won my heart!
So follow them on facebook here.
Follow them on twitter here.
Follow me on twitter here.
Eat (cheese) happy!