Ok, I’m pretty much cheese obsessed. I love it. Can’t get enough of it. Doesn’t mean I’m an expert though. With the limited resources in AZ, haven’t gotten the education I need. If Murray’s Cheese from New York was here, I’d be broke by now but I’d be a cheese expert.
So I’d been looking very forward to the opening of Petit Fromage. I would have been there opening day but the family returned from Oz that afternoon & it just wasn’t possible. We finally hit it today (a week late). In the interim, I’d heard mixed things. I did hear that the selection wasn’t that huge and it was pretty much 1 case of cheese.
So I went in with an open mind but not expecting Murray’s (which is good). I left way, way more excited than I expected.
Speaking with Lara Hardwick, she DEFINITELY knows her cheese. It turns out she’s been supplying some of the top restaurants in town for some time. Found out we have eaten her cheese multiple times when we visited Binkley’s (one of our favorites). From what I understand she has been supplying them for some time along with other fine restaurants in town.
So walking into Delicious Dishes, we found the Petit Fromage section. It is one case. But after talking with Lara and sampling numerous cheeses, I was so not let down. I found that she specializes in artisan American cheeses. Cool. That is definitely not a population that I have targeted nor do I know much about it.
I tried a host of cheeses and found many remarkable. We ended up leaving with the 2 featured cheeses, Smoky blue cheese from Central Point, OR and Beemster XO, an aged Gouda from Beemster Holland. I already love blue and aged Gouda so I’m not surprised I would love them. I hadn’t heard of either but thought they were fabulous and am so looking forward to cracking into them.
Another standout for me was Mahón (a cow’s milk cheese from the island of Menorca, Spain with sharp, lemony, salty flavors). I also absolutely loved an intense blue cheese that I think was called Azul something or other.
I also quite enjoyed trying the unsalted and salted goat butters.
I’m already excited to return. I am confident that I will consistently find new and interesting cheese there and will learn a great deal from Lara.
If you are at all into cheese, you must get to Petit Fromage. Don’t be let down at the first appearance of the single case (which is no bigger than something AJ’s or Whole Foods might have). Engage Lara and put yourself into her hands. It is truly exciting to have someone here in town who knows and loves cheese, is quite ready to let you sample the case and that will help you learn and find just what you like.
Petit Fromage is located at 5345 N. 7th Ave. 602.363.1433
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