Monday, January 3, 2011
Tucked away on Lake Ave is The Cheese Store of Pasadena. After a grueling 3 hour drive from OC to Pasadena for Gourmet Pigs birthday party, I accompanied her to pick up some cheeses. Since my trip to the Truffle Festival in Napa, I have been craving some triple creme cheeses. The Cheese Store of Pasadena was the perfect answer to my foodie search. As soon as you open the door, the pungent aroma of ripe cheeses flow into your nostril. If you love cheese, then you'd be in heaven.
Even though it is not a huge store, they offer a vast amount of artisanal products. There were a few private rooms that seemed to have people tasting wines and cheeses, which would be a nice option to explore. It was a rainy evening and we were two gals with a party to start so we had to hurry. There were so many great products to peruse and a lot of holiday items that looked divine. Can't overlook the freshly made brie filled with truffles on their counter!
They have many cheese experts that will gladly help you find the right cheese for you to take home. There are a few different samples at the counter for you to try as you wait for the next available staff. The first thing I saw at the counter was a cute bag of Sea Salt Caramels from Little Flower Candy Co. They were a little pricey, 1/4lbs for $7. Nevertheless, I had to buy it to taste for myself and I know Ms. Lin loves salted caramel. The caramel and hints of sea salt were nice. I wished the caramel was a bit smoother and softer so that it would melt in your melt. Still, the caramel was solid and tasty.
I couldn't stop myself after trying all the different cheeses. The Delice de Borgogne made of Cow's Milk from France was simply divine! After trying this cheese GP had to buy this for her party instead of the Époisses. It was so creamy and smooth but with a strong pungent bite at the end. We loved the velvety texture and strong flavor. I admit it might have been evil of me to convince GP to buy the honeycomb they sold there, but it was so DELICIOUS! It was such a hit at the party. If you are to buy any strong cheeses then you need to pair it with honeycomb to bring out the natural sweetness and flavor of the cheese. It also matters what kind of bread you smear the cheese on. The artisan baguette sold at The Cheese Store of Pasadena went perfectly with the Delice or with just the honeycomb. C'est Magnifique!
My main purpose of finding a nice triple creme was to pair it with my truffle honey. Even though the Delice was great, I wanted to have a wide variety of cheeses to pair with my truffle honey. I asked for a lighter yet just as creamy cheese they suggested the D'affinoir made of Cow's Milk from France. This will allow the flavor of truffle in the honey to permeate through better and no strong flavor will be fighting for my tastebuds' attention. Be sure to serve these cheeses at room temperature so that they are soft and easily spreadable. The flavor emanates better as it gets softer.
Even though I had sworn off truffles because I have had my fill for the next year or so after the Truffle Festival in Napa, I couldn't do it! When they offered me a sample of their Boschetto made from Sheep and Cow's Milk from Italy, I couldn't resist! The first thing I did was inhale the fragrant aroma of truffle and I was hooked! Truffles are like a drug that I really can't say no to apparently. You really can't taste the normal pungent flavor of sheep's milk. There are slices of truffle embedded into the cheese. Honestly, it was just okay because I currently in love with having sliced truffles in the center of a triple creme.
Last but not least was the divine Blue de Bocage made of Goat's Milk from France. This blue cheese was fantastic! I think it is the goat's milk that they use that made it so soft and smooth with a pungent bite. We were both in love with this cheese because it was so flavorful. Behind the strong savory flavor was a slight sweet pinch of heaven that emanated through my mouth. After we left the store, the flavor resonated throughout and we ran to the car to eat the honeycomb so we can continue the joy. O=) Blue cheese is best with honey and even better, honeycombs.
The Cheese Store of Pasadena
140 S Lake Ave
Pasadena, CA 91101