Best Cheese Miami 2010 - The Cheese Course
This new entry in the Shops at Midtown features the largest selection of artisanal cheeses in Miami. There are some 150 of them from France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the British Isles, the United States, and other dairy regions around the world. Sources include cow, sheep, goat, and water buffalo milk. There are cheeses with names of indigenous provinces, cheeses with names you can't pronounce, cheeses with names that sound like drugs: Humboldt Fog, Red Dragon, Purple Haze. So many can get confusing, but the Cheese Course sorts it all out as simply as possible. First, cheeses are categorized into six types: fresh, bloomy rind, washed rind, blue, semihard, and hard. Each one is displayed with a short description, and employees are quick to offer assistance. If words won't do, there is a tasting station lined with samplings and accouterments such as chutney, fruit slices, tapenades, and so forth. Don't see a sample of the cheese you're curious about? Ask for one and they'll slice you a piece. Savvy customers will turn their trip here into an educational experience. Sit indoors or out and choose from all manner of platters (one cheese with accompaniment is $7.95; two for $10.95; three for $14.45; and a six-category sampler for two is $22.95). Accompaniments are fresh, white or wheat baguettes are crisp, and wines are eminently matchable. The rest of the menu is worth investigating too, especially the applewood-smoked bacon sandwich with avocado and rosemary aioli.