The cheese whiz

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I finally made it to The Cheese Iron, the Scarborough specialty shop that caters to cheese aficianados. Trust me, it’s worth going well out of your way for a stop. I know I’ll be returning when I’m anywhere within reasonable (and perhaps unreasonable) striking distance.

My love affair with cheese began when I worked as managing editor for a national trade tab called Gourmet News. I attended the annual artisan cheesemakers conference, a gathering of boutique cheesemakers crafting farmstead cheeses and more from all around the country. One taste of a Maytag bleu or a then rare Shelburne Farms cheddar, and I was hooked.

The Cheese Iron brought all that back and more. It’s a gorgeous shop stocked with rare, hard-to-get, boutique farmstead, and unusual cheeses from around the world.  Vince Maniaci knows his products and is eager to educate his customers. Sampling is a must, as is a visit to the cheese cave, where they ripen young cheeses and store delicate ones.

I purchased two cheeses I’d never previously tasted, an extra-aged mimolette, a raw cow’s milk cheese from France, and a Beemster X.O., a cow’s milk cheese from Holland. Both are hard cheese, orange in color, and so intense, so full of flavor, that only a nibble suffices. I’m eager to return and continue sampling my way through the display case. So many cheeses I’ve yet to know.