Monday, September 20, 2010

Fromage a Go Go

{Photo by Justus Hayes/Shoes on Wires}

When traveling, I love tasting local cuisine. However, there’s one meal I must have, regardless of locale, where the menu remains the same – wine, baguette, cheese. Perch yourself on a park bench and you have The Voyeur’s Picnic! What better way to feel the rhythm of a city/town/hamlet than with vino and fromage in hand? 

Here’s a guide to finding the best cheese and people-watching spots in some of my favorite cities:

Amsterdam – Abraham Kef
Did you know there’s an entire town in The Netherlands named Gouda? Guess who got really excited when she learned that little piece of trivia? Sadly, I never made it to Gouda, but enjoyed cheese from the same name in the country’s capital city, Amsterdam. New York Times-approved Abraham Kef can meet all of your pasteurized and unpasteurized needs. Where to noche? Canals, baby, canals! Marnixstraat 192; Tel: +31-20-626-2210.

 Bangkok – Quintessence
Always a bit of a challenge to find a plethora of artisanal cheese in Asia, Bangkok’s Quintessence provides the cheese-lover with over 300 varieties. Pick your rind then head to Lumphini Park to watch joggers and tai chi practitioners while you imbibe. (Yes, I recognize the irony.) 116/1 Soi 23 Sukhumvit Road, BTS: Promphong; Tel: +66 (0) 2 662 3578.

Chicago – Pastoral
Ken Miller and Greg O’Neill can provide your entire picnic in one stop – wine, bread, and artisanal cheeses to boot. Take your sack full of goodies and walk over to Millennium Park to watch people interact with Cloud Gate. Lakeview, Loop, and Chicago French Market; Tel: +1-773-472-4781.

Montréal – La Fromagerie Hamel
One of the best ways to enjoy beautiful Montréal is on foot. When the dogs start barking, rest up on a bench in Lafontaine Park with some cheese, charcuterie, and bakery bits from La Fromangerie Hamel. Five locations; Tel: +1 514-272-1161.

Seattle – Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
Home of the “world’s best” macaroni and cheese, this lively shop is just steps away from Pike Place Market. Grab a few hunks, find a spot on the dock, and watch Puget Sound go by. If you’re in need of a caffeine fix or simply crave a touristy photo op (no judgment), the original Starbucks is just a saunter down the street. 1600 Pike Place; Tel: +1 206-322-1644.

Fellow fromage lovers! Where do you get your fix? 

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