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Vinotique kicks ash

Get your crazy cheese on

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Let me get one thing straight. I love cheese. Cheesy, cheese, cheese. I like stinky cheese, gooey cheese, hard cheese, soft cheese, goat cheese, sheep cheese; even that crappy nacho cheese in the jar. You name it, I WILL LIKE IT! And what better time of the year than the holidays to get your crazy cheese on?

No respectable grocery store would be caught dead without a cheese selection, which doesn't necessarily mean it's has to be a GOOD cheese selection. Most grocery stores do not and I don't expect them to, however deeply I wish they did.

I found myself in Lakewood of all places looking for some good cheese and it was there I discovered Vinotique. The name may fool you because it screams WINE, and yes, they have a great selection of wine. From $6.99 to $200 a bottle, you will find something delicious to take home.

Their wines herald from every wine growing region on the planet and even their beer selection is pretty sweet with breweries like North Coast, Dogfish, Belhaven, Leavenworth, Saison Dupont and many more. But again it wasn't the wine or even the beer that drew me in. It was the CHEESE.

Oh, but wait! Vinotique has olives, roasted red peppers, La Panzanella croccantini crackers (a favorite of mine), homemade red onion confiture (a fancy way to say jam) and many other great cheese accompaniments. But what about the CHEESE you ask? I'm getting to it! Cheez ...

During the day Vinotique has a simple but tasty lunch menu featuring deli style sandwiches like the Genoa salami with mayo, kalamata aioli, sweet onion cheese and lettuce. On Friday nights, the tapas menu kicks in at 6 p.m. and live music begins at 9.

OK, NOW for the cheese, finally. They have one of my favorites Cambozola, which is a double crème blue that is a slightly sweet and spreadable. This a rather pedestrian cheese compared to the Brillat Savarin, a triple crème cheese with a layer of truffle in the middle. A little expensive at $42 a pound, but worth every penny.

Somebody really likes blue cheese at Vinotique!  Gorgonzola Dolce, Stilton, Saint Agur and many more were available and stinky! Don't forget to try a sheep cheese like Ewephoria (how cute is that) or lovely little ball of goat cheese with a layer of ash covering the rind. What's this you say? Well, ash may be applied to the surface of a cheese to help pull moisture out. Cheese + moisture = BAD. Plus the ash makes the cheese look way more interesting.

Vinotique prefers you buy at least a quarter pound of any given cheese. This makes sense in my book. Could you image how annoying it would be if people only ordered two or three ounces at a time? Put yourself in a pair of retailer's shoes once in the while. It makes sense.

So what's my cheese and wine pairing suggestion for Thanksgiving? Grab a tasty hunk of goat cheese (ash or no ash) and a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Vinotique and get ready to party. Cheesus take the wheel (of cheese)!


10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday
10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
7304 Lakewood Dr. W. Lakewood

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