Every American consumes over 30 pounds of cheese per year. It’s an amazing and kind of sad statistic when you realize that almost all of that comes in the form of bland supermarket cheese or even worse – packaged and processed “cheese” slices. Thankfully Edmontonians don’t need to be tied to eating mediocre cheese thanks to a new cheese shop in the city of Edmonton – Everything Cheese.
I recently went to the store in Southwest Edmonton to see just what all the buzz was about. I met Lydia, one of the owners, and we chatted at length about the food scene in the city. Of course I also tried a few cheeses and left with a couple to enjoy that night with a nice bottle of red.
Lydia is very passionate about her cheese and the food culture of Edmonton, which she hopes will continue to blossom and develop into something to rival her hometown of Toronto. Cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City have multiple artisanal cheese shops and it is common to see excellent cheeses on restaurant menus. Edmonton is slowly catching up on the cheese shops thanks largely to Everything Cheese, but restaurants are still lagging far behind and continue to serve a lot of mediocre cheese that you would expect to find at the nearby Sobeys. There is hope though, as Lydia was happy to point out, as there are a few progressive restaurants that have put more emphasis on developing their own knowledge of cheeses.
The trek to Everything Cheese was long for me since I currently live in the Northeast (soon to be shorter as I am moving to Sherwood Park), but with such amazing cheeses on offer I will be making the special trip again and again to try new and interesting cheeses. I must admit that my own palate for cheeses is desperately under-developed, but I aim to change that this summer and would like to make my way around the world of cheese makers. From excellent local and Canadian cheeses to some of Europe’s best raw milk cheeses.
Cheese making has been around for thousands of years (perhaps as far back as 3200 BC) but most of us know far too little about the process and even that it is relatively easy to make fresh cheeses at home. I hope you will take some time out this weekend and make the special trip to Everything Cheese and experience what real cheese should taste like and to get a bit of cheese education from the great folks there.
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