Cheese Culture in Fort Lauderdale Sure to Attract the Cheese-o-philes
Phipps decided to open her own place. Cheese Culture will have a soft opening this weekend. It will offer cheeses (duh), charcuterie, fancy olive oils, honey, wine, and specialty food items. Those looking for a meal rather than a graze can order paninis, cold sandwiches, salads, eventually coffee, and brunch geared toward gastronomes.
So how do you prepare to open a cheese shop?
Grotenstein rounded out Phipps knowledge and guided her on how much cheese to carry, what things cost, accompanying items, hours, and location.
He also directed her toward a trend. "American artisanal cheeses are the hottest selling specialty items right now," said Brooklyn-based Grotenstein, who was in-house during Clean Plate Charlie's visit. Among those for sale at Cheese Culture is bandage-wrapped cheddar, which allows cheese to dry and breathe, creating a cheddar with the texture of a Parmigiano- Reggiano that's earthier and nuttier than traditional vacuum packed cheddar. The technique, says Grotenstein, is so new The American Cheese Society had to create a category for it.
"American cheese makers had been imitating European icons," he said. "Over the last five or ten years, American cheese makers are pioneering. There are brand new cheeses on the market with brand new names."
Though California and Wisconsin are at the forefront of US cheese making, it's a trend across the country. Even in Florida. Phipps said she will carry goat cheese from a farmer south of Miami as well as mozzarella made locally.
The damage? 45 bucks a pound.
Aside from curds and whey, food nerds will relish four kinds of mustards, a half dozen olive oils, jams, and meat: prosciutto, mortadella, pancetta, salami, speck, and coppa to name a few. Put it all together and you've got paninis ($10) such as The Italian, layered with speck, Genoa salami, aged provolone, Black Forest ham, and olive tepanade on Gran Forno crusty bread. Among cold sandwiches ($9) is the Napa Valley Picnic, made with burrata (yum), tomato, sundried pesto, and basil on cibatta. For lighter fare (kind of) there's a slew of salads, like the Great Pear, made with baby greens, Point Reyes blue cheese, pear, Granny Smith slices, and caramelized walnuts ($9).
Susan Phipps' Cheese Culture will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, 11 p.m. weekends. The official debut is next week, but cheeseheads are encouraged to drop in over the weekend.