Nestled on the fringes of the Christchurch Arts Centre is a treasure trove of cheesey delight – the Canterbury Cheesemonger’s shop. I was down in the shakey city recently and at last got to visit. Earthquakes had conspired against me on previous visits but this time our stars were aligned and gosh, my cheesey friends, what a treat. One I strongly recommend as they have a cheese room, and I loves a cheese room!
My heart leapt for joy, metaphoric shards of sun pierced my rather grey day as I scampered through the glass door and into an Aladdin’s cave of cheese. A temperature and humidity-controlled cave, storing and aging its precious wares.
And this one certainly lived up to my expectations, pine shelves housed aging cheeses and on a bench across one side a fantastic array of both New Zealand and European cheeses. Stacked and sitting on straw mats, I loved that they, like me, were ready for the tasting. And a tasting I did!
I used to be shy about tastings, weighed down by that Kiwi humility of not wanting to put someone out. But now I realise that Cheese people love their cheese and are delighted to share. Share not just the cheese but the experience of it. And cheese needs to be tasted, it is a shifting, changing mistress, who needs to be right on the day and really the only way you or they will know is by sampling.
So if you, like me are a bit nervous, don’t be. It’s a cheesemonger’s job to share their cheese with you, and to help find the one right for you. And remember any cheesemonger of worth will delight in geeking out about it. So if you are stuck for descriptive words ask them “what am I tasting here?”, they’ll fill in the gaps.
So next time you’re in Christchurch my friends I heartily recomend a visit. They have two locations, at the Arts Centre and out of a van at the Christchurch Farmers Market on a Saturday morning. The van is where Sarah and Martin Aspinwall started off and like #curdnerd at The Dairy in Auckland they learnt about cheese at Neal’s Cheese Yard in London. I’m in London-town soon and am planning a visit to this Cheese mecca. Stay tuned as Life and Cheese goes on tour!
Other posts you might like:
|Cheesemongers – finding and talking with these cheese heros||Evansdale’s Mt Cargill Tudor- a Southern man of a cheese||La Latteria, Burrata and Melbourne – Let them eat cheese!|