Thursday, February 27, 2014

artisanal cheese and birthday candles

Fromagination is no secret when it comes to best specialty stores in Badgerland. A friend included it on a newcomer's guide she gave me when I moved to Madison last April, so it's been on my radar for awhile. But I hadn't stopped in until this weekend—I'm just coming around to some goat cheese dishes and can only eat feta if finely crumbled—so I didn't feel a pressing need to scope out the stock of artisanal cheese at this local favorite. But, really, any gourmet food shop has me wrapped around its finger and I was not disappointed in the Carroll Street stop. The warm-glow ambiance makes you want to linger, the French-speaking clerk (oddly) makes it feel familiar and homey, and the shelves are filled with more than just brie and bleu (going back soon for an adorable appetizer tray and keeping the gift baskets in mind for birthdays and holidays!). I'm bummed that the tastings and fondue classes are only offered on Wednesdays. They're just what I've been looking to schedule for my mom's next visit, but the mid-week timing is tough for out-of-towners. Happily, come spring (will it ever be here?) I found they offer more frequent wine and cheese pairings on the outdoor patio – and that, I'm sure, will be worth the wait. I ended up deciding on a jar of tapenade and expressing it to Minnesota for my mom's birthday, which is today! I have so many adoring words for her, but included them in her card and don't feel the need to repeat them here—so enjoy this pic of us at the lake instead (slides in the water were the coolest). Happy birthday, Mom!

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