My passion for cheese began in December of 1996 with the birth of my dream store and the arrival of my first real cheese order. Six months prior, I had planned, researched and envisioned a gourmet market with unique artisan products. But the truth was I had little or no retail experience unless you consider my floater job at Sears back in high school. I was relying on the knowledge I gained as a food and beverage director for Hilton and Westin hotels and a Fine Dining Restaurateur over the last 20 years. To say I had a general knowledge of cheese might have been a little generous. Nevertheless, Kahn’s Marketplace, the current Vine & Table gourmet market was coming together and our grand opening was just a few days away.
After placing my first order, I anxiously awaited its arrival amid installing the rest of the store equipment, stocking shelves and cleaning up the 3 inch layer of drywall dust that had accumulated during construction. Sure enough, a truck driver walked into the store and stated that he had my cheese delivery on his truck. I thought, “On his truck? Why isn’t he bringing it in?” I might also mention that I figured it would be more cost effective and quality conscious to order whole cheeses instead of pre-cut, pre-packaged products. I grabbed my coat and walked outside to see a tractor trailer filled with 1500 pounds of cheese. It was me and the truck driver. No fork lift. And wheels of cheese that weighed anywhere from 70 to 200 pounds each. I’m sure the truck driver wished he had taken a different route that day! Somehow we managed to shimmy the palates of cheese off the truck onto our shopping carts and wheeled them into the store. I thought the worst was over. Until I had to figure out literally how to cut the cheese! My hotel and restaurant experience just barely helped me get through this time of ignorance and complete insanity. Youth was still on my side and I was able to hoist, move and then slide these cheeses onto my operating table. I will never forget my first cheese- a 70 pound wheel of Parmesan Reggiano with a bullet proof exterior! Whether it was out of persistence or desperation, I yelled for one of my deli partners to grab a hammer. Yes, a hammer. I was finally able notch a path and split the wheel while pulling two knives in the opposite direction. The rich flavor of the fresh Parmesan was amazing. To this day we still use a hammer to split Parmesan wheels and it is still my favorite cheese.
Fifteen years later, experience, maturity and pure determination have brought me to the level of success I enjoy today. I had the great opportunity to split yet another Parmesan Reggiano a few weeks ago but I might have pulled a shoulder muscle so I am fortunate to have more help. The building of our cheese department has certainly had its ups and downs but Vine & Table’s selection is by far the absolute best it has ever been and by far the best selection in Indiana if not the Midwest.
As we continue to evolve, we have taken a new approach when selecting the cheeses that we will inventory and continue to make available to our guests. We have moved away from offering six types of Havarti and Monterey Jack cheeses and begun to focus on discovering smaller artisan producers. Our current cheese list is approximately 175 cheeses with the goal of at least 200 selections on any day ranging in origin and type. Our selection consists of French, Italian, Swiss, English, Irish, Spanish, Australian, Domestic Artisan, cow’s milk, sheep’s milk and goat’s milk cheeses. Domestic artisan cheeses are on the rise with extraordinary producers across the country. We have always been trailblazers in the cheese market however in the past we have carried cheeses that were more regularly available at many stores. Vine & Table is now truly the leader in Artisan cheeses from the United States and the best selections from around the world. Our mission is to provide central Indiana with unique, hard to find, amazing cheeses.
Here are a few specialty cheeses that make Vine & Table your best source for artisan cheeses in Indiana:
Abbaye Pyrennees Belloc
Fromage Des Clarines
Onetik Bleu des Basques
Delice de Bourgogne
Cremeux de Bourgogne
Robiola Bosina “Due Latti”
La Tur Langa
Mozzarella Di Bufala
Pecorino di Fossa
Ricotta Salata Testa di Moro
We carry a full range of specialty cheeses from these outstanding domestic dairies: Neal’s Yard, Capriole,
Cypress Grove, Twigg Farm, Jasper Hill, Carr’s, Meadow Creek, Rogue, Ploughgate Creamery, Consider Bardwell, Cowgirl Creamery , Moses Sleeper, Cobb Hill , Weybridge Schotten and Frisian Farms.
Come see Indiana’s true Fromage leader today!