Good Cheese may seem like an innocent cheese shop, but it's really a deadly gateway to a dangerous obsession.
Armed with a liquor license, this East Chinatown shops serves up a thrilling array of international and Canadian cheeses, paired with Lambic beers and wines you'll want to spend days trying.
The art of pairing has long been a pursuit of perfection for frommagiers and wine lovers, something that co-owners Luke Champion and Adrian Zgeb encourage in a friendly atmosphere.
Also selling local goods like honey, pickles and jam, this space is versatile, serving as a drop-in shop, a bar, and a restaurant where patrons can gather in the back.
Daily food specials like Sunday's half price cheeseboards with the purchase of a wine bottle or Wednesday's free cheese day (a nice tapas-sized slice) with any drink, makes this place a turophile's heaven.
The display case of cheese at the front of the store looks quite small, but it houses an exciting collection of anywhere between 28 to 35 cheeses at a time, mostly from Europe and Canada.
There are some truly fascinating options here — for non-affineurs like myself, anyway — like the Dragon's Breath from That Dutchman's Cheese Farm, a blue cheese from Nova Scotia cased in black wax.
Up for sale are some housemade specials like the Cortido Slaw, pickled at Good Cheese and sold in 150 gram containers for $3 each.
You'll also find their sourdough crostinis – 100 grams for $3.50. Baked in-house, these super crispy mini toasts are the basis for many of Good Cheese's meals since they're perfect for dipping and spreading.
If you're new to cheese boards, or it's your first time at at the store, the cheese and charcuterie plate is an absolute must. Perfect for experimenting, you can try one ($5), three ($13) or five items ($21) of your choice, or have Luke or Adrian choose the combo for you.
You'll have so much fun picking at this board sprinkled with corn nuts, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, berries and a beautiful chunk of honeycomb from Ontario brand Knotty Coppertop.
The hummus ($9) is airy with a strong herby flavour and acts as a nice fallback throughout your super savoury meal of cheese and wine.
Like their cheeses, liquor here doesn't come from any particular area, instead opting for a more inclusive approach. Origins of their sparkling wines and ciders range from South Africa to Ontario. Beers are mostly of the acidic, sour variety to better complement the fatty cheeses.
The camembert wheel ($16) comes with crostini, berries and a light drizzle of honey that oozes gooey goodness when cut into.
Available all day on Fridays and Saturdays is fondue ($19), served in a pretty ceramic bowl and served with bread, fruit like Asian pear (surprisingly delicious with cheese) and pickled goods, which may have proven too adventurous for my inexperienced palette.
The gooey mixture is Gunn Hill's award-winning Five Brothers cheese: a creamy, strong cheese with traits of Gouda and the Swiss cheese Appenzeller.
Tacked on to the menu are three sandwich options, including the wok and roast pork sandwich ($11) with crispy pork, house mayo and a tasty rosemary apple jelly.
Served on a Bastille bun, I didn't find the pork overly fatty, making it a nice contrast to the soft cheeses and thick fondue.
Good Cheese is the only place in the city bringing a strong focus on pairing to the forefront of its menu right now. Whether you're a longtime cheese lover or just starting to dip your toes in the fondue of life, you'll leave Good Cheese knowing a bit more than you did before.