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Where to get your cheese for a wine and cheese party

pescatarian Jan 4, 2008 08:53 AM

If you were having a wine and cheese party, where would you go in Toronto to get the cheese for the party? I know I can go to SLM or Kensington Market and there's the various boutiques, but I want to know where I'm going to get the best value for my money and where I can ask for their advice about what to serve based on the wines I get.

Thanks in advance.

  1. d
    dgrayca Jan 7, 2008 12:22 PM

    Can't beat Global for prices.
    My advice is to buy the cheese first, then visit Boris at the Queen's Quay LCBO with your cheese list. He'll help you pair the cheeses quite nicely.

    1. w
      watt Jan 6, 2008 05:01 AM

      The Thin Blue Line on Roncesvalles is fantastic! I hosted a charity wine tasting in the summer & all the cheese came from them; the owner is helpful, friendly and knowledgable. And the cheese is the best I've had in the city (I used to be an Alex Farms girl, but I've changed allegiances!). Definitely not cheap, but totally worth it.

      10 Replies
      1. re: watt
        millygirl Jan 6, 2008 06:17 AM

        Hey pescatarian, if you can get your hands on some Delice de Borgogne you should add it to your plate. We had some last night and it was the BEST cheese I've ever had. It's a french pasteurized cow's milk. So rich tasting. Really fantastic.

        1. re: millygirl
          pescatarian Jan 6, 2008 06:41 AM

          mmm, thanks for the tip! where did you get yours?

          1. re: pescatarian
            millygirl Jan 6, 2008 06:45 AM

            Summerhill Market. They had some out for sampling and we immediately ran to get some. So did the other couple of people that were trying at the same time. Honestly, really worth the trip. We paired it with those Rainforest Crackers - have you had them yet? They go wonderfully with most cheeses, but soft ones in particularly. I love the green box which is fig, rosemary and olive oil. Fantastic!!!!

            1. re: millygirl
              JamieK Jan 6, 2008 07:05 AM

              Mmm, yes, those raincoast crisps from Lesley Stowe are delicious -- pricey so not an everyday treat for me but great to serve with cheese for guests. The cranberry hazelnut crisp is great with a creamy cheese like Riopelle.

              1. re: JamieK
                millygirl Jan 6, 2008 07:12 AM

                Yes highly addictive. And I love that they are so thin, tres elegant.
                They are easier to find lately, seen them at SunValley and Alex Farms. Although Alex seems to sell out quite quickly...many times they've only had the cajun ones in stock which I've never had - don't really appeal to me, particularly with cheese. Agree that they aren't cheap, but well worth it. Especially if you are going to spend $150 on cheese - not the time to cheap out on the crackers :)

                1. re: millygirl
                  pescatarian Jan 6, 2008 01:22 PM

                  so true Millygirl. I know those crackers and I do love them. I will pick some up during the week!

                  1. re: pescatarian
                    morrigan Jan 6, 2008 02:42 PM

                    I know that your gathering isn't until next week, but I would love to hear what wines you chose to match with the cheese. I have a lot of cheese left over from Christmas in the fridge and I keep experimenting...

                    Review please:).

                    1. re: morrigan
                      pescatarian Jan 6, 2008 03:03 PM

                      ok, this is what I have (if anything's terrible, I don't think I want to know because I can't afford to replace a lot!):

                      Sparkling: Seura Viudas Brut Reserva
                      Gazela Vinho Verdo - Portugal
                      Lindeman's Bin 85 Pinot Grigio 2007
                      Little Penguin South East Australia Chardonnay
                      Black Tower Riesling 2006

                      La Vielle Ferme Cotes du Ventoux
                      Baron Philippe de Rothschild Pino Noir
                      Obikwa Shiraz (South Africa)
                      Saint Emilion 2000 Bordeaux
                      Yvon Mau Merlot 2006
                      Las Clos de Paulilles Colloure

                      I also have a couple novelty wines I picked up at Pine Farms Orchard in the fall - a Framboise and an Apple Cranberry (might mix with soda water).


                      Lincet de Bourgne
                      Parmigiano Reggiano
                      Blue D'Auvergne
                      Special Reserve 5 year Gouda
                      Tomme D'Abondance
                      Christmas Barrel Cheddar

                      1. re: pescatarian
                        morrigan Jan 6, 2008 04:34 PM

                        Whereas it can be a little sweet, I quite like Framboise (or Chambord, for that matter) in sparkling wine. I like your choice of sparkling wine and I laughed when I saw the La Vielle Ferme Cote du Ventoux - that and Louis Jadot Beaujolais are my go to wines for drinking with cheese...

                        I'd love to know if anything stands out...or there is a particular pairing that works really well.

                        Have fun!

                        1. re: pescatarian
                          shana Jan 7, 2008 11:52 AM

                          I LOVE the gazela from portugal - it's wonderful, very drinkable and affordable (however not as affordable as when we were in Portugal where it was 2 or 3 euros a bottle)

        2. jayt90 Jan 5, 2008 06:00 PM

          Don't forget the basics at Costco; a trip there will leave money in your pocket for Alex!
          Reggianio, Stilton, 5 yr. Balderson are all approximately $12/lb.

          1. pescatarian Jan 5, 2008 12:07 PM

            I just had a good trip to Alex Farms on the Danforth. I got enough cheese for 20 people, including a French triple creme (they didn't have any triple creme quebec today), an aged Gouda that has a smokey taste, an unpasteurized old Cheddar, a Blue, Parmigiano Reggiano and a French one, Tomme de Abondance. Cost me $160, but I don't have a wine and cheese party for that many people every day! I think I got a good selection. The samples tasted good. He vacuum packed everything except the Blue, because it's for next week.

            4 Replies
            1. re: pescatarian
              millygirl Jan 5, 2008 12:49 PM

              I've had the Tomme de Abondance....very nice. You're guests are in for a real treat!

              1. re: millygirl
                pescatarian Jan 5, 2008 01:59 PM

                I hope they enjoy it! That's the one I actually selected on my own from my list that I had prepared before I went to the store. The others he selected. They were all delicious.

                1. re: pescatarian
                  miranda Jan 5, 2008 05:37 PM

                  Call Andy Shay at Shay Cheese...he's the best and he delivers...also gives great suggestions for wine pairing and even crackers....google him at shay cheese....Miranda

                  1. re: miranda
                    millygirl Jan 6, 2008 04:51 AM

                    I use to subscribe to his cheese club on a monthly basis but the problem was too much cheese arriving at one time. I decided I could do the same thing on my own. I spend less, buy what interests me, purchase when I want or need it. I found quite often he focussed on washed rind cheeses, which I discovered I don't care for. Great for gift giving though.

            2. a
              aparker Jan 4, 2008 11:46 AM

              I always go to the Alex Farms at the south east end of St Lawrence market. Knowledgable staff will suggest and let you try anything...

              2 Replies
              1. re: aparker
                Montrachet Jan 4, 2008 04:10 PM

                I agree that Alex Farms is your best bet. The staff at the Danforth and Bayview locations are equally helpful. Quebec cheeses are fabulous, especially triple creme (Riopelle) and blues. Try the latter with figs - superb! Alex Farms also has an in house cheddar which is quite good.

                1. re: Montrachet
                  shana Jan 5, 2008 09:05 AM

                  I just had my own $50 alex farm trip, and while everything I got was lovely it smarted to pay that for snackin' cheese.

                  I really really like Global cheese in kensington - I usually go there and the staff are always lovely and helpful. And kind of importantly they always ask how much do you want to spend and help me get the most for my money or tell me what's really worth splurging on. I've done a few theme nights - wine and cheese pairing in general and then some country specific nights and they are always great with recommendations and write down all the names and origins for me on the packages. I don't even mind that the older guys all refer to me as sweetheart - coming from them it's charming.

              2. pescatarian Jan 4, 2008 09:40 AM

                Thank you all. I found another interesting matching chart, if anyone is interested: http://www.frugal-wine.com/cheese.html

                1 Reply
                1. re: pescatarian
                  nummanumma Jan 4, 2008 10:18 AM

                  I'm a fan of Salumeria myself- on Yonge- east side, north of Davisville.

                2. Googs Jan 4, 2008 09:11 AM

                  I don't have a cheese shop that can recommend wines. I will, for a change, endorse the LCBO website for their food pairings. Enter "Red Still Table Wine" under Product Subcategory and "cheese" under Food Match. Voila!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Googs
                    millygirl Jan 4, 2008 09:34 AM

                    Pescatarian, check out tastings.com. and click on the food matching guide. I've found it very helpful, particularly for cheeses. Now do I get an invite :)

                  2. m
                    millygirl Jan 4, 2008 09:03 AM

                    I would suggest either Alex Farms on Bayview or Whole Foods. There is also some great websites out there that speak about matching wine and cheese. My husband knows of one which I will post later today.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: millygirl
                      pescatarian Jan 4, 2008 09:12 AM

                      Thanks, Millygirl. I have a link to Billy Munnelly's website, but I'm not planning on doing too much homework in this case, just hopefully get some good suggestions from a cheesemonger (do we still use that term? ;-)
                      I think I'll check out Alex Farms this weekend.

                      Edited: I lied, I'm doing homework after all, lol

                      1. re: millygirl
                        Apple Jan 4, 2008 01:14 PM

                        I would also agree with the Alex Farms - for both SLM & Beaches. I was at the Beaches location on the weekend to pick up a cheese to "snack on" (i was in the mood for blue) and walked out with $60 worth of "snacking" cheeses. (A fab raw sheep's milk, a triple cream brie, and an organic gruyere!) lol. Sinfully good & totally on the money, BTW.

                        They were very knowledgeable - asked me what I was in the mood for - salty, crumbly, smooth, etc. then offered me a sample. Really pleased with our selection.

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