Wednesday, April 28, 2010

From Cheese to Wine and Back Again



On the way back from Jeff City, we discovered a hidden little gem called the Cheese Shop in Sweet Springs, MO. There were so many great little finds here, we had a difficult time choosing which items to pick up. We got some wonderful smoked cheddar that had been aged 11 years as well as Amish onion cheese,rye and swiss cheese and roasted and salted green peas. Their terrific selection of unique munchies will have us stopping there again, for certain.

Last night, I shared a sublime evening at the Cellar Rat in the Crossroads Art District with my friend Linda. Cellar Rat Wine Merchants is a wine lover's dream. They stock over 800 wines as well as premium spirits and handcrafted brews. The decor is utterly charming, featuring tables made of wine barrels and rustic doors. I can't wait to attend a more intimate event later as they have a righteous tasting room. The selection could feel overwhelming but the staff is so friendly and knowledgable that they take all of the intimidation out of the process. Natalie is a wonderful sommelier who was incredibly informative. You have to love that their website states "Nothing is sold that we don't like ourselves."

Last night, they hosted a free French wine tasting. We tasted five wines:

-Saint-Hilaire Brut which was originally created in 1531 by Benedictine Monks and has the distinction of being France's very first Sparkling Wine. Today, the wine is still made in those same foothills of France. The wine is very light and refreshing.

-Gilles Noblet Macon-Fuisse is a white burgundy that was one of my favorites. Very fruity and very good.

-Burgundy Hills Pinot Noir is also very fruity and had a nice finish.

-Chateau Haut-Garin is a Bordeaux that includes in it's description "rose-petal aromatics" and I could taste that! It had a strong, tannic finish.

-Chateau Desclau was my top pick and the one we chose to have a full glass of following the tasting. It was rich and smooth and well, awesome.

Following the tasting, we did a bit of shopping and ordered a cheese plate from Natalie who created the plate for us. She brought us some warm, toasty bread with two mostardas....which are wonderful spreads created with fruit preserved in syrup that gets a kick from mustard. Cellar Rat makes their own mostarda and ours were so tasty. One was made with a citrus zest and Champagne. The other featured ingredients that included grape, Golden raisin and red wine. Linda referred to a Cellar Rat mostarda she loved that was made with figs. The cheeses Natalie chose for us included a goat cheese and my personal favorite, a velvety sheep's milk cheese. Cellar Rat also sells a wide array of artisanal cheeses and meats. We enjoyed our wine and some Strong Arms Shiraz from South Australia at a table by the window with a view of the under-construction Performing Arts Center. We finished up with a Vosges Barcelona Bar of milk chocolate, hickory-smoked almonds and sea salt. Mmmmmmm....zzzzzzzz....

Yeah, I tend to be a bit of an insomniac but this lovely experience followed by another satisfying ep of Glee when I got home and I ended up sleepin' like a baby. Check out Cellar Rat here...

http://www.cellarratwine.com/what.html

The pic at the bottom of this post is of the goods from the Cheese Shop in Sweet Springs. All the others feature Cellar Rat.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great posting! Your descriptions of the place and our evening was so warm and charming. I would love to get a poster made of the shot of the table with the construction behind. Thanks for coming with me and thanks for writing about it. Love, Linda

Ronnie said...

I was trying to guess where this was based on the construction outside the window. Man, that performing arts center is going to be the most beautiful thing in KC. I can't wait.

Lisa Mandina said...

The pictures look like the cheese would be wonderful!!

natalie said...

Thank you for the kind review! We hope to see you in the shop again soon!

The Foodie Wannabe said...

Thank you for stopping by,Natalie! I will most assuredly be back...

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