If you’re in the downtown area this weekend, particularly near the Convention Center, you may notice that the conventioneers are just a little bit different than usual. Not to cast aspersions on the techie, giftie, and anime crowds, but these folks are just a bit more steathily chic, a tad more rumpledly intriguing. For they are Cheese Nerds. Yes, the American Cheese Society is hosting its annual Cheese-A-Topia here in our own illustrious Gotham-Lite. Whether or not you’re joining in the festivities, we hope you’ll come see us at Paris Grocery for all your (French) cheese needs.

*Update: Since press time, the list of winners has been announced. We often carry products from multiple winners Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery and Rouge et Noir!

Cheese @ PG

This week we’ve decided to share with you our staff favorites. It was quite illuminating to force all my compatriots from next door at the Spanish Table to come down to Paris Grocery and reassess their favorite French cheeses. While we’re all cheese lovers, I don’t know if we could all be said to be cheese nerds; most often, the cheeses selected as new favorites were tried-and-true “yum factor” cheeses that have been made the same way for ages and remain perfectly delicious, thank you very much. I can promise you that selecting a staff favorite- or selecting several for a cheese plate, for that matter- will not disappoint.

Roll call, staff favorites:

Steve, aka El Jefe: Abbaye Ste-Mère

For the boss, only a true “dude” cheese will do- wash this one down with a Belgian ale. This traditional monastery cheese from Normandy has a creamy yet firm texture. Made with raw milk and washed in brine, it has a fruity, mild, and slightly sweet flavor.

$18.99/lb

$4.75/quarter lb

Sharon, aka the Wine Nerd: Tomme Corse de Chèvre

Sharon has been in love with this cheese since we opened! This rustic tomme from Corsica shows off the flavor of the rough mountain diet of the goats. It has a semi-smooth, textured paste, a fiercely herbaceous flavor, and a wonderful chèvre tang on the finish.

$31.99/lb

$7.99/quarter lb

Isaac, aka El Jefeito: Le Berger Basque

Isaac is so loyal, he couldn’t stray too far from the Spanish border to select his favorite. This rustic Pyrenees cheese is made from raw sheep’s milk in the Basque region. Nutty, earthy, and herbaceous with a wonderfully tangy finish. Pairs perfectly with Pinot Noir.

$30.99/lb

$7.75/quarter lb

George, aka Jorge: Scharfe Maxx

A true cheese nerd, George loves the aromatic cheeses that announce themselves from a few feet away. This is a sweet, barnyardy, and immensely tangy cheese from Switzerland. Aged for 6 months, this thermalized cow’s milk cheese is washed with brine and herbs, giving it a powerful and sharp (scharfe) flavor and a dense, creamy texture. When you need to up the ante on your ham and cheese, give this one a try.

$26.99/lb

$6.75/quarter lb

Priscilla, aka the Thrilla Killa: Bucherondin

Priscilla is a known snacker, and this one flakes every time you cut it, leaving her no choice but to sample it yet again. This tangy and slightly savory cheese from the Loire Valley is like two cheeses in one: next to the rind it’s buttery and smooth, while in the center it’s light and creamy. Amazing with Loire whites and delicious as is or melted.

$15.99/lb

$3.99/quarter lb

Jeff, aka Muscles: Delice de Bourgogne

Jeff may prefer the silence and solitude of the warehouse, but he’s actually a total softie. This delicious triple cream cow’s milk cheese has a lively, piquant flavor that nicely balances the buttery mouthfeel. Try this cheese at the end of the meal with fruit for a truly decadent dessert.

$16.99/lb

$4.25/quarter lb

Abigail, aka the Scholar: Tomme de Hyelzas

This is one you have to think about, with beautifully complex flavors: which describes our recently- left-for-grad-school friend perfectly. This is a stunning raw sheep’s milk cheese from a cooperative that works with eleven producers and shepherds. The rich milk offers flavors of the Causses plateaus: wild thyme,  blue grass, juniper, and lavender. A dense, smooth texture and a super clean finish: absolute heaven!

$29.99/lb

$7.49/quarter lb

Rachel, aka Barbra : Bleu des Basques

I swear, this cheese really sings with a dollop of citrus marmalade- a blue to eat all year. It’s one of our most requested blue cheeses. This sheep’s milk cheese comes from a cooperative in the Pyrenees, has fine indigo veining, and a clean brebis taste. Creamy & crumbly with a faint nutty sweetness. Extremely well-balanced & less salty than most blues.

$26.99/lb

$6.75/quarter lb

Wine @ PG

Louis Picamelot Crémant de Bourgogne Brut ($12.99)

A dreamy sparkling wine from Burgundy, made of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Bourgogne Aligoté. It is produced in the tradition method, like a Champagne. Bottle-aged for nine months with the lees, the wine has toasty, nut-laden aromas and a creamy mousse. Fresh apple on the palate and a pleasing length. It is ideal as an aperitif, complementing shellfish, cheese plates, nuts, and fruits.

2008 Dom. Raymond Dupont-Fahn “Chaumes des Perrières” Bourgogne Blanc ($32.00)

This Chardonnay is a steal if we’ve ever seen one! The incredibly talented winemaker uses grapes from 40-year old vines in the parcel of land adjoining his Mersault vineyard. The soil in the vineyard was deemed just a hair too shallow to be classified “Mersault”; had the decision gone the other way, this bottle would easily be twice the price. Barrel-fermented, it has a lovely weight, an opulent mouthfeel that is tempered by an elegant chalkiness. Peach, apricot, and spice on the finish.

2009 Château de Ségriès Côtes-du-Rhône ($13.99)

This bistro-style Côtes-du-Rhône is irresistible! Half Grenache and blended with Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault, it’s a young, fruit-forward red with peppery notes and a rich finish. Father and daughter work together in the vineyard and in the cellar to make this food-friendly wine.

2007 Domaine de Font-Sane Gigondas ($22.99)

This luscious Gigondas has been racking up high scores in all the wine publications. The Grenache-based blend comes from 50 year-old vines, and is aged in large oak tanks before bottling. A limited number of cases were imported, and we were able to get  a few bottles at this amazing price!

” Very ripe and fleshy, featuring lush blueberry, fig and boysenberry fruit layered with dark cocoa and black tea flavors, with a lingering pastis note. Long and rounded, with nicely buried grip holding the finish together. Drink now through 2015. 174 cases imported.” 92 points Wine Spectator.

Craves @ PG

Laguiole Cheese Knife Set

A real cheese nerd wouldn’t just hack away at their delicacies with any old knife. Those in the know use Laguiole, immensely attractive knives crafted from high grade stainless steel. We have two 3-piece cheese knife sets: the one pictured ($30.00), as well as a 100 percent biodegradable set from the Natura line ($55.00).

Feed Your Mind @ PG

Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins

George, our resident Cheese Nerd at The Spanish Table, has taken this mildly weighty tome along with him everywhere in the world. He wielded it as a defensive weapon on troublesome New York City subway rides. He slept on it as a pillow on early morning Seattle bus rides. And he used it as a wedge to stop the ancient cannonball from crushing him while searching for a historically relevant cheese. He always gets out alive when he’s got this classic cheese nerd bible.

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