I live not too far from the Stampede grounds and I hate being around large groups of people, so this time of year I am extra grouchy. Pile this weekend’s heat wave onto that simmering rage and you have one misanthropic and hungry young lady (though I will admit today’s rain did placate me a little). When it’s too hot to cook and I’m overtired from feeling someone else’s heavy bass as it reverberates through the contents of my bedside table each night, it’s time to lean on an easier dinner option.
Cue Kensington’s Peasant Cheese Shop. It’s located next to one of my favourite Italian restaurants, so unfortunately for Peasant’s staff I usually stumble in there after one too many glasses of wine dragging Matt behind me and sweetly (read: shrilly) demanding we “just bring one or two cheeses home for a little taste”.
The first time we went in there, I was fumbling and sweaty the way one might be when meeting any celebrity they admire. It’s not the poor cheese shop employee’s fault that she has my dream job. I had no idea what I was doing and asked her for something that would be good to shave or crumble onto a salad, so she recommended Murcia al vino.
Since that day, Murcia al vino has occupied far too many of my thoughts. It’s a creamy, mild and semi-soft cheese made only from Spanish Murcian goats’ milk. As it ripens over a 45-day period, it is soaked in red wine, which leaves the rind purple and gives the cheese a slightly sweet fragrance and flavour. It’s insane on a fresh salad and goes fast in our house as a snack. Can’t recommend this cheese highly enough!
After I picked up a block of Murcia al vino on my most recent visit, I decided to add a few new cheeses to my weekend plans as well. The very friendly and knowledgeable staff patiently assisted me and were happy to offer a sample or two in the process.
Château de Bourgogne is a pretty close runner up for my favourite cheese (an honour, I’m sure). It’s spreadable like it came out of a tub of margarine, even straight from the fridge. It’s sticky, buttery and perfect on a crisp cracker. The creamy, nutty interior is balanced by a slight bitterness like you find in other bloomy rinded cheese (e.g. Brie or Camembert). If you are the kind of person who wishes it was socially acceptable to spread unsalted butter onto a cracker and shove it in your face at a party, this is the cheese you should bring to your next potluck.
The third cheese I picked up this time was a Tomme d’Estaing – a snackable, creamy and approachable French cheese made with ewe’s milk. It’s bolder and firmer than the Château de Bourgogne and has a nuttier, earthier taste. Absolutely lovely as it warms up to room temperature and a nice counter balance to the sweeter Murcia al vino.
Yes, a fancy adult would have interspersed these cheeses with some fruit, nuts and olives, but I am who I am and I ate a straight up plate of cheese and crackers for dinner. You know you want to after reading this post, too!
Today I talked about just three of the dozens of cheeses available at a given time in Peasant Cheese Shop (1249 Kensington Rd NW). Even reading their cheese list online is enough to improve my day. Go in and pick out a cheese or let them make you up a charcuterie board when you’re too lazy to make your own lazy night dinner. If you’re feeling fancy, splash out and rent a raclette machine for a fun dinner party activity. You can’t go wrong!