Did you know Austin has a dedicated cheese shop? Most of you dedicated foodies have probably heard the news long before now. But have you been yet? I'm a little ashamed to admit, its taken me a few months to make my way all the way up to Hyde Park to check it out. Now that I live downtown and work south, anything north of 38th street is practically Waco! But, curiosity got the better of me one afternoon and hopped in my car to pay a visit to Antonelli's.
I'd met the proprietor and "Head Cheese" monger John Antonelli at Tasty Touring's Beer and Cheese tasting party ages ago. Their shop hadn't quite opened yet, but the delectable cheese they offered to pair with 512 brewery's delicious beer was a combination too yummy to even describe. Who knew cheese and beer go so well together!
The Antonelli's are a sweet couple who are very, very passionate about cheese. If you come to their shop, they will give you little samples of whatever cheese you want on tiny little spoons. They'll explain what all the different types of cheese are and their properties. They'll tell you what makes a good cheese, and like wine, what you should be tasting in each cheese.
And their selection, while not the biggest in town, is definitely the most well chosen. There isn't a bad cheese in that store!
Have you ever seen anything more beautiful than a glass case full of delicious cheese??
The Antonelli's are really big into cheese education too. Their shop is adorned with informational signs on cheese. This sign describes the 7 main categories of cheese! As an engineer I appreciate any effort to categorize and classify things (with the ultimate goal to organize and improve). It makes my heart all warm and fuzzy. So when I saw this sign, I got a little weak in the knees.
They even had a sign to illustrate how the different types of cheese have varying levels lactose. Being lactose intolerant I totally appreciate being told up front which cheese I'll be enjoying later and which will leave me unhappy in an hour. I always knew there was a reason I love a good aged cheese more than the fresh ones!
In fact, their whole store is full of educational boards! If you go to Antonelli's, you will learn something while you eat a wonderful cheese. How can you lose??
Is cheese not enough for you? There's also a meat and olive case, so you can balance out that cheese meal I know you all are considering having. You can't live on cheese alone!
There's even a store pet, Mr. Pig.
If you get a chance, you should really check out Antonelli's, particularly now that it's picnic season!