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Grocery Stores

About Cheese

Posted by Dara Skolnick / Posted on March 14, 2009

About Cheese

The other day I visited About Cheese (located at Church and Maitland) with Dara hoping to become a cheese connoisseur. I don't think I'm ready to host parties yet, but thanks to the owner, Cole, I learned some really awesome stuff I can't wait to throw into conversation at random.

First we tried Cape Vessey, a goat's milk cheese from Prince Edward County in Ontario. It's a perfect balance between soft and hard and tastes very creamy. Its flavour is pleasant and mild, but still leaves an impression. Next up was Riopelle, a soft cheese from Isle-aux-Grues in Quebec. I learned that it comes in different states of ripeness. The one we tried was in a more advanced stage of ripening; it tasted salty, sharp and buttery.

As I was browsing the cheeses on display, I noticed that most of them were Canadian-made, though some European varieties are available as well. I was happy to learn that About Cheese steers clear of large, industrial cheese companies, and instead buys only from small artisan producers. This practice is much more environmentally friendly and the cheese just tastes better.

About Cheese

About Cheese

While sipping non-alcoholic spruce beer, a popular item at About Cheese, I found out from Cole that while his Church St. cheese shop has only been open since November of last year (exactly five months as of Friday), his company has actually been around for more than four years. Operating under the name Provincial Fine Foods, at first he was only a supplier.

For the first year, he had one client - Whole Foods - and one cheese - Thunder Oak Gouda. Now he supplies cheese for Pusateri's, Thin Blue Line, Whole Foods, Leslieville Cheese Shop, A Taste of Quebec and others. I was surprised to hear he also supplies cheese for 15 Loblaws locations - Loblaws and small cheese producers are not two things I imagined going together. The downtown About Cheese location complements his main business as a supplier, which is located on Yonge St. between York Mills and Lawrence.


About Cheese

During my visit, I also learned the finer points of being a "cheese snob," as Cole put it. There's a lot more to eating cheese than I ever realized. First, he said, the cheese should be at room temperature. Next, take a deep breath, letting the smell of the cheese permeate your nostrils. Warm it up by rolling it around with your fingers, then smell it again. Finally, put the cheese on the centre back of your tongue and mash it onto the roof of your mouth. Your whole mouth will be coated in cheese ensuring a full tasting experience, one that sure beats my usual method of eating it on crackers.

About Cheese


All in all I was impressed with the About Cheese experience. John and Keir, who were working when we visited, were super knowledgeable and friendly. John lived in France for a year making cheese and Keir has worked as a chef in restaurants throughout the city, so they definitely know their stuff. About Cheese also features some interesting items including jars of exotic spices that come from a real spice trader, and a rare (and delicious!) variety of prosciutto.

Cheese tasting sessions are held at their uptown location at 3467 Yonge Street. The next one is the evening of March 26. For more information about the shop and the cheeses they stock, check out About Cheese's website.

About Cheese

About Cheese

About Cheese

About Cheese


About Cheese


Writing by Laura Stricker, photos by Dara Skolnick.

Discussion

13 Comments

Zack / March 15, 2009 at 09:25 pm
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Are you sure it's a variety of prosciutto from Italy?

I thought it was from Iowa!!!
http://www.provincialfinefoods.com/laquercia.html
-z
Dara replying to a comment from Zack / March 16, 2009 at 07:52 pm
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Thanks Zack! Entry edited :)
SJB / August 19, 2009 at 03:40 pm
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I used to live on Maitland and was exited when this shop opened, but my neighbours and I rarely go in now as the people behind the counter are often really rude and snoby. Sometimes you'll get a friendly nice guy, other times you get treated like you just crawled out of the gutter. I buy my fine cheese in Kensington now, it's not worth the hassle at this place.
LQ / November 17, 2009 at 04:11 pm
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LOVE THIS PLACE... best cheese place in TO
Cam replying to a comment from SJB / November 18, 2009 at 08:58 am
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SJB- you go to Kensington for cheese? I thought one of the shops there was just shut down last summer for lysteria cross contamination. You obviously have no clue what u are talking about. About Cheese on Church is famous for service and gives out more free samples than any shop in Toronto!
cheers replying to a comment from SJB / November 19, 2009 at 11:29 am
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Seconded 100%. Not worth it The price and snobbery are outrageous.
daryl / November 20, 2009 at 02:07 pm
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About Cheese just launched our new website!
So everyone that is a fan of our shop, or simply loves Canadian artisanal cheese, can get a little chunk of it even at home. Check it out for online cheese sales (E-cheese?), cheese knowledge, and weekly blogs about restaurants, recipes, and all things to do with Canadian artisan cheese and cheesemongering!
www.aboutcheese.ca
cam replying to a comment from cheers / November 20, 2009 at 10:51 pm
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About Cheese on Church offers a $150.OO worth of free cheese twice monthly to customers who enter a draw. The service is the best and samples abound!
sf / January 9, 2010 at 01:54 pm
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very good grilled cheese sandwich! The service was excellent, very friendly and knowledgeable.
bhavana singh / June 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm
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Interesting.
bhavana singh / June 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm
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nice & Interesting.
jd / November 14, 2012 at 01:13 pm
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Walking by I stopped in for a Grilled Cheese this weekend. Just because I noticed the sign when passing by. The Grilled Cheese was excellent and a little prosciutto on it made it very enjoyable.

The girl behind the counter was extremely friendly.

Well drop by again.
Laura / November 18, 2012 at 06:46 pm
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This store is amazing. The staff is adorable and super friendly, and the food is just to die for. Grilled cheese forever.

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