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Cheese Boutique

Location: 45 Ripley Ave. Toronto.

Thanks to saffronjan's observational and organizational skills, three of us went on a westward expedition yesterday to check out Cheese Boutique's truffle tasting events of the weekend. Located in a unprepossessing '50s office strip off of the Kingsway/Queensway intersection, on the inside the building's a tidy cram of international gourmet goodies.

The entryway doubles as a café and cooking demonstration area, where the lure which brought us out there in the first place was profiled. A guest chef was cooking away, producing sample nibbles of chesnut in puff pastry with a drizzle of truffle oil, and a prosciutto-wrapped asparagus in an amazing balsamic-port reduction with a few shavings of truffle on top. It was all enough to convince the rest of the party to invest in bottles of in-store made truffle oil. I only refrained because I already had a small and endless bottle at home; they got the better bargain. saffronjan also splashed out on a whole truffle, which was pre-scheduled to star in our dinner that night.

I spent most of my money on products I'd been hearing good things about for a long time now, or else grocery products I need anyways, including tortilla chips for my enormous pot of chili. Fleur de sel, heirloom "Forbidden Rice", and Liberty-brand yoghurt were all of the long-read-about variety of purchases, picked out from high, densely crowded, well-kept shelves which filled in all the walls on both levels of the store. Here and there were additional samples: I tried a Late Harvest Vidal, the tortilla chips I bought were sampled with guacamole. A man offered me an elegant cup of tea; I had to decline, and he was grumpy.

larkvi and I had obscure cheese tastes - they didn't stock any of what we were after, even though we know some of them are available at other fine cheese stores in town. But that didn't stop either of us from sampling a variety of their enormous selection and each buying a small handful of slices. The store featured a nice variety of Quebec artisanal cheeses as well. The Cheese Boutique makes a number of their own products, including a striking aged gouda and their own prosciutto. The products are aged in a cool, dry, dark visitable room built into the center of the store.

Finally, we went back to saffronjan's, where she made us stilton-stuffed prosciutto-wrapped apricots and comfortingly munchy aged buffalo cheese and red-pepper-and garlic-jelly bruschette. We sipped an oak-aged herb-flavored Polish mead with it as an aperitif, more like a light, tasty sherry than any mead I'd drunk before. High quality pasta tossed in olive oil, garlic, and truffle shavings, accompanied by my underflavored multi-colored pepper salad, completed our feast. larkvi brought a bottle of buttery chardonnay which went nicely with the meal, a versatile wine.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 13th, 2005 10:01 pm (UTC)
wow, sounds great! one thing about me giving up meat for lent is that i've had the opporunity to try out several new pasta recipes. i wish i had truffles to experiment with ;) oh well. I did want to use sun dried tomatoes (which i found yesterday) but I couldn't find any at the supermarket and got sun dried tomato paste instead, which turned out to be a useful compromise because the pasta i tried tonight called for tomato paste which i forgot to buy :P
Feb. 13th, 2005 10:06 pm (UTC)
I've never used tomato paste of any kind, although it seems like a versatile ingredient from all the recipes I've seen it listed as an ingredient. Beans are a good veggie base too: my enormous quantities of caribbean chili that I now have is vegetarian-friendly.
Feb. 13th, 2005 11:15 pm (UTC)
I've used it rarely, not often enough to actually have any sitting around. I'm not sure if they even sell it readily here, i was just looking for sun dried tomatos and found that paste and thought 'what the heck?' I'm actually hankering for more of my anchovy pasta yum!
Feb. 13th, 2005 11:42 pm (UTC)
Do you have Alford & Duguid's *Seductions of Rice* cookbook? It certainly makes me think of you ...

--your indefatigable commentator :-[ ;-)
Feb. 14th, 2005 05:23 am (UTC)
No, but I had the tab with the post where you mentioned it earlier this week open for days. Having a comment from you in my inbox about it is an even better reminder and suggestion for it! I'll add it to my wishlist now before I forget, so it's an option for next time's improv orders. Not that I need to buy more books before moving - but I do anyways.
Feb. 14th, 2005 09:50 am (UTC)
Comforting, considering that that post should probably never have been made in the first place. That book has at least three recipes for rice pudding along with everything else ...

In other news, I am obsessing over Gower's *Mirour de L'Omme* like a mother. According to him, mesure and temperance aren't even in the same (allegorical) line of descent from reason :-/ ...
Feb. 14th, 2005 03:10 pm (UTC)
See my earlier comment on everyone disagreeing. Your dissertation's goal as to defining temperance/mesure is limited to Lydgate, yes? Everything else is context, what Lydgate is reacting to, what other people at the same time are doing that's different or the same.

In addition to not looking at music texts, I haven't been looking at Mirror of Princes texts either, any of them really. My methods have largely consisted of following footnotes from place to place, randomly looking through are books for pictures of my objects, and reading books which seemed superficially likely to include mentions of my objects. Temperance, I largely followed through classifications, until I discovered North's second book a few months ago, and largely based my final chapter on her survey, 'cause she'd already done a chunk of what I was otherwise setting out to do myself from scratch. I told you I wasn't very organized, despite appearances.

But... mesure and temperance not being in the same line of descent sounds like a classification/family tree could be drawn, and I love doing those for classifications of knowledge and virtues! It sounds like enough fun, perhaps I shouldn't do much with it until after I'm done...
Feb. 15th, 2005 03:23 am (UTC)
Your dissertation's goal as to defining temperance/mesure is limited to Lydgate, yes?

*nods* even to a chapter. The problem is that once I started reading the *Mirour de L'Omme* in order, as opposed to using the translation selectively, I began to suspect that it was even more of a direct source for the *Fall of Princes* (my diss is only directly about the FP) than I had previously supposed. Translation: I'm a dork. On the other hand, I think even people who really should be using the Middle French text (Langlandians, Lydgateans) are pretty limited in their approach to non-ME works. ::represses whatever catty remark she was going to make about theory and English vs. medieval studies::

I don't think anyone should ever have to look at a mirror for princes text of any sort. This is based on bitter experience ;) ... I think that a lot of this sort of exfoliation of the virtues that goes on is aesthetic anyway. Augustine and such--I just want to show it being in the line of earlier thought; that's probably an interpretive bias. As you know, I'm living proof that EM Forster's quasi-axiomatic "Only connect ..." can be taken way, way, way too far.

I'm going to take a flying leap (not being a student of such hierarchies myself) that if you like the arbor-type thing, you would like the *Mirour*. There's a complex genealogy of the vices and the virtues that runs for just under 8000 lines, juxtaposed with a delineation of the estates (all incidentally direct sources for what I'm working on. Woe.). There's a translation, but of course the reason I'm freaking out again is you don't often get the right words for abstract nouns/allegorizations in translations. So I'll be spending a little time with this. I'm probably going to end up scanning it in (because I have print allotment, making it cheaper than photocopies) and summarizing it in my chapter, maybe not fully in this draft, but as it's long in any event: it's the first volume of Macaulay's Gower edition (OUP).

Back to typing ... even though I'd much rather talk, qed ... ;-/ ... & thanks again ...
Feb. 15th, 2005 03:51 am (UTC)
I find it rather amusing every time you use the phrase "expoliation of the virtues". I know exactly what you mean, and it's a good phrase for it, but I've been spending too much time at places like Lush and around people who like shops like it. So I have an image in my head of a group of personifications getting ready for their photo shoot, vigorously exfoliating their facial skin, moisturizing, and then getting ready for their makeup. Not being a makeup wearer, I don't know if you're meant to clean your face before putting it on, or if most people just stick to thorough cleansings in the evening. Regardless, that's the scene in my head.

I mostly only like hierarchies for the fun of diagramming them. They aren't good reading in their own right, but they make for nifty charts and family trees.
Feb. 15th, 2005 05:03 am (UTC)
:) ::is entertained::

This is taking me back to a class on Allegory & Symbol (J. Mann again) and how much spinning of wheels (not Fortune's) was done around personification allegory, starting infelicitously enough, since apparently I can't shut up, resist the Boethian pun OR dissertate atm, with Prudentius. The thing is, you could probably sell me snake oil right now in the form of allegories of the virtues preening and exfoliating and I would buy it. That's how fried my brain is.

Unsurprisingly, we have no LUSH in South Bend either--we don't even have a body shop!--or I would buy that too. Makeup is a high form of diss!avoidance indeed. Lydgate would not approve, as it is also against kynde and counterfeit. I am just posting, inter al, his poem about horned headdresses in honour of valentine's day--me, avoidant? This will no doubt make you very sorry you ever talked to a Lydgatean. The fun just never stops.

... as to the trees, I suspect that one of the many reasons I'm a "bad specialist!" is that I find things like that Gower aesthetic and moving to read even as I can't keep track of the hierarchies. Be that as it may, there are enough daughters of sin and daughters of reason there to keep one occupied for a while.
Feb. 15th, 2005 05:04 am (UTC)
*That's how fried my brain is, and that's how many personification allegories I've seen. Almost like they're all on some Peter-Jackson-esque battlefield layout all playing with each other :-/ ...
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )