The cheese shop is called Cheesemongers Fromagerie and is located on the corner of Corydon Avenue, and Lilac Street. Although it’s only been a open for a few months, the owners put many years of training, planning, tasting and planning into the opening of the shop.
I first heard about Cheesemongers Fromagerie when they opened in late February. I thought the concept interesting but didn’t really make any effort to get there. It wasn’t until I visited Frenchway Cafe that I remembered that the shop was open.
The location of Cheesemongers was for a long time home to a vacuum cleaner sale and repair shop. That shop was a rather messy and disorganized looking place. One of the things that the Cheesemongers did was create a fine looking shop. There is no clutter and the inside is full of light wood along with white walls that create a cheerful, bright look to the place. There are two main cooler sections at the front that contain the cheeses, and some coolers and shelving along the rest of the front space. Behind the counter are the friendly, and well informed staff members who are more than willing to let you sample the cheeses before you buy.
This is a good thing, since these are high end cheeses, destined for the gourmands, those who like to throw swanky dinner parties, or like me enjoy being adventurous in their food choices. There are also a wide variety of imported food stuffs. These also would fall into the high end, gourmet price range. Although, they do carry some of the more reasonably priced items such as Smak Dab Mustard. As an example of the items I’m talking about, there was a 1/2 lb stick of butter selling for around $15. I can’t imagine any butter is so good that it’s worth that much.
On my first trip I purchased a small chunk of the Shropshire Eyre Farmhouse cheese. This is an orange cheese similar to a Stilton in character. This definitely qualifies as a “stinky” cheese, as I kept wondering while I was traveling home, where that smell is coming from, and then: Oh yes, I bought cheese. This was my favourite of the four cheeses I’ve tried. The other cheese I brought on this visit was a raw goats cheese, similar in texture to a Brie or Camembert. I ate it on a baguette, but it would also make a great baked cheese.
While I’m not sure that this cheese will ever take the place of malt, I’m sure it would still offer a better apologetic than Milton.
I decided I’d try one of the products that was sitting on the shelves and chose some pickled garlic. This is the kind of garlic you can actually add to your cheese board without worrying about whether or not your guests will all stop talking to each other. I ate it out of the jar, but I might want to try it mixed into a hummus sometime.
So, as I said the prices are definitely higher than you are used to, ranging from about $3.50 to $9.00 per 100g. I wasn’t as careful with my amounts the second time around and left with a bill close to $40.00 for a couple of pieces of cheese. However, that said, the cheese here is really good, The flavour and character are such that small amounts are quite satisfying.
On that visit, I ordered a Keen’s Cheddar. I went with that because I have long been of fan of Keen’s Mustard. When I was younger I used to make my own Hot Honey Mustard using the powder. The mustard flavour in this cheese isn’t all that strong. However, it’s a good, smooth tasting hard cheddar that I really enjoyed.
The fourth piece of cheese I bought up was the Pouligny St. Pierre. This is another raw goat’s cheese. Of the cheeses I bought this was the most interesting. As you can see in the picture, this cheese has a rather thick rind to it. I know some people don’t like the rind on cheeses, but I’m not one of those people. What made this cheese so interesting was the way it tasted very different when I was eating a bit that had rind, and then when I was eating an interior bit without rind.
The rinded bits have a very strong flavour to them. To the point where the rind tends to overwhelm the rest of the cheese. Meanwhile the interior bits of the cheese have a very mild flavour with a nice softness to them when you bite into them.
While I was there I also noticed they had some small sausages on display behind the counter. I picked up one of them. They were a good buy at only $3.50 for a good sized sausage. I enjoyed the sausage it was well spiced and full of flavour.
Cheesemongers Fromagerie is definitely only ever going to be a treat place for me, unless my budget suddenly grows. However, even if you can only afford a small piece of the cheeses that are on offer here, I highly recommend that you visit this store. The owners have clearly put a lot of thought, effort, and planning into building this business, and Winnipeg is better off for having such a shop as part of it’s food community.