Pastoral Artisan Cheese: Always worth going out of my way

April 12 2007 - 6:13 AM

I know this isn’t the first article on Pastoral here but I find it so hard not to write about this place. Whenever I’m in Lakeview I almost always go for the inevitable visit to Pastoral. This place always sucks me in…it’s the friendly staff, the fact that they have a few cheese wheels out in the open waiting to be sampled, some good caricature, a nice selection of olive oils and balsamics, and a wine selection. Oh, yeah, and there’s also an olive bar and an assortment of artisan dairy products.

I can’t walk out of there without spending money. Just can’t do it. And
the people there are nice and professional that I’d need to go to
therapy to recover from the guilt after walking out of there without
spending a dime.


On my most recent trip I tried a chevre (goat cheese) with lavender and anise from Idaho. The combination of flavors…mmm.  Pastoral
usually recommends great wine pairings, which is the underappreciated
advantage of a limited yet carefully chosen wine selection. The pairing, in this case, was a humble $10 white French vin de table from Languedoc called picpoul de pinet. A 2005 from La Chapelle de la Bastide, it paired excellent with the goat cheese and was a nice, drinkable everyday wine.    I brought the wine and cheese over to my mother’s and both disappeared quickly.


For those not
familiar with Languedoc it produces one-third of all French wines, but
many of them are simple table wines that don’t get a lot of attention,
and many of these wines, you may have heard on the news, were
ingredients of a “wine lake” created due to the combination of high
production and low demand. Due to that simple
fact you get a dependable French wine without the huge prices commanded
in wines from other parts of France. There’s a reason behind it, of
course, but you get the point.


Back to the cheese: another great workhorse dependable cheese is the nutty, versatile zamorano. This
is a nutty cheese often aged for six months (sometimes can be firmer)
that pretty much goes with a variety of whites and reds. It’s flavorful but doesn’t compete with the wines or foods it’s paired with…a great cocktail party cheese.


Anyway, the cheese
selection at Pastoral alone can provide material for more articles…so
many cheeses, so many wines, so little time.



2945 N. Broadway