It’s not often you chance upon a neighborhood gem like 109 Cheese and Wine, a gourmet store tucked in between a cake shop and a bakery in Ridgefield, Connecticut. The olive green interior is warm and welcoming, the products varied, and the vendors select. The owner Monica Brown, and her husband Todd Brown travel all over the country, and occasionally fly across the pond in search of that perfectly aged cheese or an artisanal ham that has been dry-cured in the mountains of Spain.
So there I was, at this cheery little shop, waiting for my picnic basket filled with goodies. It was my prize for having won a contest on CT Bites. For the wine, we stepped into a back room filled with bottles and barrels. My husband and I were looking for something light and fruity, with a zing. So we picked a Pinot Noir Rosé. It was a salmon-pink Patton Valley, slightly sparkling.
Now that my husband and I (plus a couple of friends) have had the pleasure of partaking in the feast provided by the good people at 109 Cheese and Wine, I can say I am particularly fond of their ChevreLait, (Luscious Lemon goat cheese from Rainbeau Ridge Farms) and the Ewephoria (sheep cheese) from Holland.
If your recent visit to the farmers’ market or grocery shop had you pick up a watermelon, you could try making a salad with the said goat cheese. The lemony saltiness of the cheese goes wonderfully with the cool, sweet watermelon. As for Ewephoria, I know the sugary notes will have you reach for a bottle of Sherry, but I can pop bits of it into my mouth like I am having candy, and be just as happy.
Apart from the cheese, the Rosemary Parmesan Crisps (from Bernard’s), the packet of slow-cured Molisana Salami (a peppery, garlicky delight from Olli Salumeria in Virginia) and the tub of Duck Rillette (again from Bernard’s) are all worth going back for.