There's lots of moving and changing these days on Portland's cheese shop front lines. After Steve Jones opened Cheese Bar in SE Portland, Square Deal Wine did not waste time in filling the hole left by the former Steve's Cheese.....now this wine shop has spawned its own cheese shop, which is open and ready to sell you some queso (and local chocolate, crackers and a bunch of other great stuff).
At the helm of this new venture is cheesemonger Sasha Davies, who knows as much about cheese as anyone in Portland; regulars will recognize her as one of the friendly faces who worked at Steve's shop. Sasha is a veteran of cheese temples Murray's and Artisanal in New York, and she's also the the genius behind Cheese By Hand, an online chronicle (including podcasts) of a 2006 trip she took, along with husband Michael Claypool, across the country visiting small artisan scale cheesemakers. She's excited to be running this new cheese counter. "Square Deal has become known in the neighborhood as a wine and cheese shop," she says. "Our main focus with the cheese counter is to keep the regular customers flush with delicious and exciting cheeses." She'll be stocking a range of cheeses from the Pacific Northwest, as well as from across the US and classics from the UK and Europe. "Our cheese selection will rotate with the seasons, availability and our interests and affections!"
There's going to be a lot to like about Square Deal Wine and Cheese. They're planning a number of cheese-focused classes, concentrating on various cheesemaking regions of the world, cheese styles and specifics of the cheesemaking process coming up soon. Sasha will be attending this weekend's California's Artisan Cheese Festival in Petaluma and plans to bring back some unique gems from California for a specially focused California class on April 1st (no fooling!) - call the shop for details or to register.
And that's not all Sasha Davies has up her sleeve... she's also currently serving as co-chair of the upcoming American Cheese Society conference which will be held in late August in Seattle (that's her in the cute promo video)....and keep an eye out for her book, The Guide to West Coast Cheese: More than 300 Cheeses Handcrafted in California, Oregon and Washington, published by Timber Press, which will be coming out later this year.
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Square Deal Wine and Cheese 2321 NW Thurman Portland, OR 97201 503-226-9463