Global Cheese has unveiled its newly renovated digs, complete with "Betsy" and "Molly" holding guard by the front door. "That one we got off the internet," says Jason DaSilva, pointing toward the beefier brown cow in one window. "And that one," he says, pointed toward the smaller blue cow, "we got from a cheese company."
Betsy and Molly, of course, are not the only changes to come to Global Cheese. The family-owned business just completed its seven-month renovation, which started with structural improvements and led to an overall interior overhaul. Global Cheese regulars might remember wheels piled high, a somewhat cluttered interior and counter around the perimeter. No more.
First off, Global's windows are comparatively scarce, having shed most of its postering from pre-reno days past. Don't get me wrong — there are still stilton specials ($1.99/100g) and Canadian gouda grabs ($1.99/100g) advertised outside — but now you can actually see inside the Kensington Avenue shop from the sidewalk (once you look past the cows, that is).
Once in the shop, customers are treated to a more serene, more organized cheese-shopping experience. The counter has been centered in the middle of the shop, allowing for 360 degrees of customer cheese-admiration. The back area — formerly an enclosed storage space — has been opened up to allow for a few more counters plush with olives and various types of feta (cow's feta, Bulgarian sheep, and Greek sheep, to name a few).
Jason tells me the store has been in his family for decades, first purchased by his father back in the 1970's. The next decade brought some significant renovations to the store, but it has been left fairly as it was up until February of this year. The renovations and brief closure allowed Global Cheese to explore its inventory, adding significant stock to its pantry items, including new Niagara wine jellies, olive oils from Greece, and a line of specialty mustards (including applewood smoked bacon!). Global Cheese now also offers a small assortment of cold cuts from Mastro and beyond, though the store's focus, naturally, is still on its cheese.
"We really know how to put together a plate," Jason says, confirming that Global's cheese-plate-assembly is among the best you'll find in Toronto. The shop has far too many different varieties to count, and can somehow make a French camembert jive with a gorgonzola or a truffle brie. That, of course, is something that has remained through Global's renovation, and so to has its generous position on try-before-you buy when it comes to cheese. Lucky for me.