The Cheese Boutique

img_2488My blog has been trucking along since the Spring of 2007 and most of you are familiar with my travels to Greece and love of my native cuisine, Greek food.

Being a Greek who lives abroad (Diaspora), I feel lucky that my parents chose Canada as the country of choice to start a new life and family. I feel particularly fortunate to live in the vibrant, culturally diverse and tolerant city of Toronto. This is the first installment of a regular series I will tag as “Talk Toronto”. Join me as I introduce this fair city to you, it’s people and the food that feeds this city.

img_2082Toronto is just 90 minutes from Niagara Falls and the Canada/US border. It’s located on Lake Ontario and it’s geographically located in a strategic area for commerce. Commerce equals work, work equals opportunity, opportunity equals population expolosion and population explosion equals diversity. Toronto has one of the most diverse populations in the world, everyone getting along pretty well.

img_2477Within this multicultural mosaic, peoples from different lands brought and shared the foods from their homeland. Every ethnicity has pitched in to offer it’s citizens an international pantry that rivals the larger “foodie” cities.

My goal is to also share and show you what a remarkable city Toronto is and in particular, show you where I shop for my ingredients, attain some of my cooking inspiration and showcase the people and shops that cater to the diverse and sometimes fickle tastes of this international city.

img_2489First stop, The Cheese Boutique. Don’t let the store’s name deceive you, there’s more to the Cheese Boutique than just cheese. A walkabout around the store will take you through the produce section, you’ll gawk at the display of cakes and desserts, peruse the hundreds of varieties of cheeses, become intoxicated with the aroma of cheeses aging in their very own aging room, salivate at the meats that hang and dry-age in their exclusive aging room, sip an espresso and contemplate which olive oil to try, which balsamic vinegar to pair it with, choose from an array of quality pastas, sauces and pestos, travel the world with coffees and teas, be tantalized with the row upon row of charcuterie and finally, pick up some artisan bread just as your about to say “farewell” until your next visit.

Almost 40 years ago, the Cheese Boutique began from the humble beginnings of a ma & pa corner store (Beckers) and as time marched on, this corner store quickly became a family business that included the involvement of three generations of the Pristine family. The Cheese Boutique is currently located in the South Kingsway area of Toronto (west end) and despite my living in the northest end of the city, the quality, attention to the customer and a passion for their products still makes it an easy “foodie” destination for me.

As a Greek, I’m delighted that the Cheese Boutique sells barrel-aged Dodoni Feta, Manouri, Kasseri and Kefalograviera cheeses. Greek olive oils,olives coffee, vinegars, honey and oregano are all “must haves” in the Greek pantry.

Enough with all the chit-chat, let’s explore the store together…one gets the feeling that you’re walking through a playground built especially for foodies. Take your time, chat up the staff, ask to sample a cheese before you buy it, try out the olives, check out the every nook and crannie of the Cheese Boutique.

Each time I go back, I discover something new…hope you will too!

When you first enter the Cheese Boutique, you’ll be met by the finest produce the markets have to offer.

img_2491-1

img_2496-1Fancy some cakes and dessrts from the patisserie?

img_2498I know I always need olive oil in my cooking, do you have Greek extra-virgin olive oil?

img_2499-1Fancy some Serrano ham from Espana? I sure do!

img_2501Be sure to ask where the aging room for the cheeses are…the smell is intoxicating!

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Only the staff may enter the aging room for the beef but here’s some of their “choice cuts”.

img_2507-1Here’s a birds-eye view of the main service island.

img_2508-1Sampling of the array of olives is actually encouraged!

img_2512-2A large display featuring many of the deli meats from around the world.

img_2513-1Some more charcuterie.

img_2514I don’t think the store would be complete without some prosciutto di Parma

img_2515Some earthernware and other cooking vessels are available for purchase.

img_2516Quality homemade sausages for all tastes, be it mild or spicy.

img_2518What would the Cheese Boutique be without cheese?

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img_2520Bread should always be present at the family table.

img_2521An assortment of balsamic vinegars, for all budgets.

img_2523Those cheese wheels are real…they sell that much cheese!

img_2526Protect the store, staff and patrons from the “evil eye”.

img_2530A young gent behind the counter was brushing the truffles…this one weighed in at $370!

img_2532It’s never a “slow time” at the Cheese Boutique.

img_2534The province of Quebec produces some of Canada’s best cheeses.

The Cheese Boutique is located at 45 Ripley Ave., near the South Kingsway, in the southwest end of Toronto.

You may visit the Cheese Boutique’s site here.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at  http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis

© 2009,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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56 Comments for “The Cheese Boutique”

says:

This is a great idea Peter. Look forward to more installments. As for the “Cheese Boutique” it def looks like a Foodies playground! great stuff!

says:

I’d love to visit Canada and Toronto! This store is sooo great! I wish we had something similar here…

Cheers,

Rosa

says:

this is definitely my kind of post – apart from savouring the wonderful array of food (talk about variety!), I particularly enjoyed the street views too. this is my favorite kind of armchair travel, combining it with food and everyday life.

i’m looking forward to the next post

says:

Okay, I now need to catch a plane -I would LOVE Toronto! As for the Cheese Boutique…..I’d spend a whole day in there.
If you were to come to Telford you’d fall asleep – we have nothing like that here, it is sooo very boring!
A fantastic post Peter!

says:

Wow thankyou for the virtual tour of the cheese botique, i think if i am there i will spend hours looking around in the shops, with all the goddies there.

says:

I can’t even type my mouth is watering so! Thank you, this is a great idea to show us where you go and why. I look forward to the next in this series very much. This seems an absolutely must stop on my next Toronto trip!

says:

I wish we had such gourmet, specialized stores in Singapore, I will go crazy with happiness! Everything from the cheese to meats to bread look really good.

says:

I love to know about Toronto chico! And that shop looks amazing, so complete and full of goods… but, please don’t take me to the cheeses ageing room… I could die in two seconds ;D

says:

Nice to learn more about your city. I suppose the owners must be Greek from the big eyeball hanging from the ceiling.

says:

Wow, I really wish we had such a place in Sydney. There are some fresh food provadores in Sydney, but nowhere near as developed and with such a range as this one.

If I lived closeby I would be broke from continually shopping here.

With the cheeses, do they have a large variety from all over the world, or do they have a few particular countries they focus on?

says:

Oh Peter, a true Aladdin’s cave Wonderland. How sad for to you live in the same city as this Treasure Trove.

Have only recently discovered your site, and then this!

Just as well I’m over in New Zealand, or I’d be broke (and foodily exhausted).

Sincere Thanks for this glimpse of food delite, Michelle in Wellington, NZ

says:

The Cheese Boutique alone is worth a trip to Toronto — though having visited there before, I know it’s a great city. Like the new feature…great photos!

Vana

says:

Καλησπέρα από Ελλάδα,

“επισκέπτομαι” συχνά το blog σας και μου αρέσει πολύ. Πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα η φωτογραφία από το Τορόντο, είχα την εντύπωση οτι είναι μια αδιαφορή βιομηχανική περιοχή χωρίς ενδιαφέρον, αλλά ίσως κάνω λάθος.
Πάντως στα σχεδιά μας για το καλοκαίρι είναι ένα ταξίδι στην Αμερική, και ένας από τους υποψήφιους προορισμούς είναι το Τορόντο και οι καταράκτες.
Καλή συνέχεια σε οτι κάνεις.
(Πάντα έχεις πολύ “ζωντανές” φωτογραφίες!!!!!)

says:

I just died and went to cheese heaven. God do I love that great city of yours. Gotta love a place with a stash of kefalogreveria.

says:

I haven’t been to Toronto in almost 20 years. It is a beautiful city. I enjoyed the tour through the cheese boutique…I would love to have one here.

says:

Oh that truffle Peter! I would love to just have a tiny slice of that to take home.
I love that bread photo!
Thanks for sharing those wonderful photos!

says:

So that is heaven…oh, it’s beautiful…

Thanks for the congratulations on the Taste of Mediterranean! You broke the news to me! I haven’t even had my coffee yet. The surprise and excitement of it was almost lethal before coffee! I am so excited!

says:

Waaaaaaa! Now you have made me so homesick! When I am up there in the summer a visit to the Cheese Boutique is definitely on the agenda!!! Why have I not been there before????? Love this feature and can’t wait to see what else you uncover!

says:

Hey Peter, thanks for showing us more of your amazing city. I really want to visit some day, maybe when the storm passes. :D

says:

Love the new site, Peter, and what a fun place to shop! We have places like that around here, though they are about 1/10th of the size. Jealous!

says:

I have a couple of good online friends in Toronto (besides you hehe) and it’s nice to see the city and the food it has to offer. What a fantastic shop!! I’m jealous. I wonder if I could find anything even close to that around here. My Italian market is a quarter that size.

I especially love the meats and the deli case. Thanks for the tour Peter!

says:

Thanks Peter – great post. I’ve never been to the cheese boutique but you can be sure I’ll be going now. What a fabulous place.
I also love the shot of Front Street – so beautiful.

says:

Peter this is one of your best posts ever. I love the market themes. This is excellent. I wish we had something like that here.

says:

This was a wonderful post! I had a wonderful time taking this tour with you!

I see in your cheese shot the Norwegian Gjetost! Have you ever tried it? If not you should get your hands on some on your next trip! :)
You have never had cheese like that!

This was SUCH an enjoyable read!

says:

I really enjoyed this tour. These types of stores are my absolute favorite places. So much to see and buy. I may have to get up to Toronto again real soon if there are great shops like this!

says:

Great pictures! The cheese boutique with the mouse on the sign made me smile, of course you would be reflected in the wild and free sign, and I won’t tell you what the truffle looked like to me. Darn it, now I’m hungry!

says:

I am jealous times a thousand! I would probably live in the Cheese Boutique if I were you. They would have to shoo me out with a broom every night.

says:

Thanks Peter, it’s always very helpful to share where you shop! Great post, can’t wait for more, so I will know where to go next time if I can a chance to visit Toronto again.

says:

I would love to visit the Cheese Boutique! I can only imagine how wonderful it smells in there! Thanks for sharing this with us.

says:

Your “candy” store looks amazing! I know I could just sit there in peace for a while with just the visual sensation. The latter sensations not even being needed until the products are purchased.

says:

Drool, drool.
When I was single, my friends and I would go to Toronto at least four times a year. At least. We would always be there for New Year’s. I just love Toronto. One of my favorite cities.

says:

Thanks for the introduction to your city, Peter! That store looks AMAZING! Would love to visit Toronto sometime, hope you’ll be around to give me a tour ;-)