So technically I should be back from San Francisco, but you know, I doubt my mind is working properly to form a full post. I’m pretty sure that my mind is still somewhere in Napa, wandering the vineyards, sniffing deeply in wine glasses and spitting into buckets (ok, who’m I kidding? I’m drinking that sucka dry), relaxing, maybe still in a spa somewhere getting a massage…) (Ironically, I am writing this before I even leave, so I am totally drooling and hating myself already, champing at the bit to leave; I bet those of you who didn’t go on my trip – which is all of you! – probably are ready to stab me…), and as such, to ensure you all have something to read on this Monday while my brain struggles to get back down to business… I am composing this now.
As many people say – what goes better with wine than cheese? (A statement I don’t wholeheartedly agree with, but whatever, for the purpose of my post, I’ll let it stand.)
A few weeks ago, I was Googling around, looking for places to try in Forest Hills. Always looking to expand that Forest Hills label, you see. I was intrigued when I found a cheese place mentioned a few times across the board – Cheese of the World. I like cheese a lot, and while there are a ton of great cheese places in Manhattan, sometimes you just want to run out of the apartment, grab some cheeses, cured meats, a loaf of bread, some olives, and you know, run back home, all under half an hour, and make yourself a mini-picnic except in your living room. And watch bad movies in your PJs. Anyway…
The first time I “tricked” BF into wandering down Austin Street that “far”, we actually had lunch plans to try a Japanese restaurant already. That was a disaster, but having walked down to Cheese of the World, we’d browsed around and come away with some purchases.
For me – jamon de Serrano, which I was pleased to see they carried for about $22.99/lb. Not cheap, but cheaper than Fresh Direct… However, to my utter dismay, when I asked for a 1/4 lb., the guy helping us immediately began hacking at the leg and removing the fat, before slicing it super thin for me. I meekly said, after he handed me the wrapped package, “Ummm, next time could you leave the fat on please?” and he looked surprised and responded, “Oh, sorry, most people want it removed.” WELL MOST PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS THEN. He told me to tell him sooner next time, and he would gladly do so, but to be honest, when I first saw him hacking at it, I wasn’t sure what the hell he was doing. The fat is where all the flavor is!!!
For the BF, well, the same guy asked if we needed any help, so we left it to him: “We like hard Italian cheeses for snacking, and sharp cheddars…” and he immediately suggested piave, then cut us a hunk to try. The nutty flavor and crumbly texture was an immediate hit and we’ve been back twice now, will be back a third time, to pick up more.
That idyllic scene I painted earlier of watching bad movies while noshing on cheese, olives, bread, cured meats? Yes, that was our Sunday a few weekends back. BF carefully picked out the last two loaves of bread like so, which I think their supply was severely depleted because it was Sunday. I’ll have to check next time I go, to see if there’s a better selection of bread. The olives – pitted Kalamata olives – were deliciously briny, perfect foils against the nutty piave cheese.
We also picked up some roasted red peppers, which, admittedly, were much more expensive than those at the grocery store. Which were the same brand. But you know, convenience, I suppose.
We also picked up some prosciutto, BF’s preference in the cured meats department. They had actually 2 or 3 different kinds of prosciutto – San Daniele, di Parma, and another kind I can’t recall…
My resulting sandwich.
The other half, without the roasted red pepper and with some pesto spread.
I’ve got a list of things to check for next time I’m there (burrata, cotija, and guanciale?!- they have pancetta, so maybe they have guanciale!), but they have a great selection of various cheeses, meats, olives, and other gourmet items you’d want to eat with your cheeses. With the exception of wine (which I didn’t see), this is basically where you could stop right before a picnic and get everything you could want for that picnic, and be a totally happy and romantic camper. Err, picnicker.
Yvo says: If you live in the area (and like cheese) and haven’t been over to this place yet, what are you waiting for?!?! Get your butt over here!!! Great cheese selection, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and lots of little items to look over and debate buying, though the place is a bit narrow and can get crowded fast.
Cheese of the World
71-48 Austin St.
Forest Hills 11375