Easter is fast approaching, and we’re all hoping that a certain cuddly creature leaves us a nice basket of decadent goodies. Just in case that plan falls through – or, if you’re the one who ‘plays’ the Easter bunny and need an idea – The Village Gourmet Cheese Shoppe on Main Street in Southampton has the perfect remedy with their specialty cheese baskets.
The Dan’s Papers staff was fortunate to indulge in the Southampton mainstay’s specialty, as Marketing Manager Danni Grecu made up a basket for us to sample some of the locale’s finest products.
Grecu included five different spreads, and it was tough for me to pick a favorite. I’m partial to goat cheese, and really enjoyed the Humbolt Fog—an amazing goat’s milk cheese from California. We also tried the English Cheddar, the Shoppe’s No. 1 selling cheddar cheese. It had a sharp but creamy flavor, and Grecu noted that it would go well with both red and white wine. Among the other cheese was a block of Greek Feta that had me pining for the accompanying salad ingredients. Plus a Beemster X-O, the Shoppe’s extra old Gouda cheese. The fifth spread was a duck with port foie gras pâté. Rich and creamy, you didn’t need to put a lot on a cracker to get the full flavor. Many commented on how delicious it would be on top of a steak.
The gift basket included something for everyone – even, a few coworkers who are trying to cut carbs happily noted, crackers made of cheese to replace traditional wheat crackers. Among the favorites was Mrs. Crumble’s and Kitchen Table Bakers’ Aged Parmesan Crisps. Both were wheat and gluten free. Though I was partial to Mrs. Crumbles – they had the texture of a traditional cracker – the crisps were all devoured with zeal. There was also a smattering of olives, which always pair perfectly with cheese and crackers. And the fine chocolate bar was a welcome addition.
The Village Gourmet Cheese Shoppe offers a wide assortment of gift basket options and customizations. The Shoppe sells the finest cheese accompaniments, olive oils, pasta, coffees, teas and sweet treats. They also have numerous sandwiches, Panini, wraps and salads, which are made-to-order with the finest ingredients for breakfast and lunch. In addition, the Shoppe serves a daily selection of Hale & Hearty soups. And, patrons can enjoy a Panino and small soup for $10 on weekdays.
Though simple, my favorite creation has always been the Caprese with its fresh mozzarella and tomato on a grilled Panino with baby spinach leaves and pesto.
I think I’ll have to stop in to try it again sometime soon.
The Village Gourmet Cheese Shoppe, 11 Main Street, Southampton, 631-283-6949, http://villagecheeseshoppe.com