For those of you who have had the joy of spending time at the Marliave in downtown Boston, you are likely familiar with their fun cocktails, great wine list, cool vintage atmosphere and if you are particularly lucky – their incredible sliders. However, this post does not focus on their spacious upstairs bars and dining rooms, but the tiny five-seat bar at street level on Province Street.
As a regular café customer in this space over the last year or two, I have become smitten with the space; the charming barista, Tommy; the fantastic coffee and “mini” breakfast treats that they serve there. So when I saw an announcement that the little café was going to be transformed into an afternoon/evening bar featuring cheese, wine, scotch and chocolates, I was pretty freaking excited. Attending the cheese bar’s opening night, I was literally first in line.
I’m here to tell you that the experience is fantastic at the cheese counter. Friendly, knowledgeable servers are ready to give great suggestions and pairing recommendations. The menu suggests different wines to try alongside the cheeses, and there is a fantastic selection of fine scotches and chocolate truffles, if that’s your thing.
While visiting the Marliave’s cheese counter is a real treat that I would recommend to anyone living in or visiting the greater Boston area, I think that you could also gain real inspiration from your trip and (nearly) duplicate the experience by making your own cheese plate.
Since the Marliave received their cheese education from the experts at Formaggio, I would venture a guess that one could find most (if not all) of the featured offerings at their store. I have also seen many of these cheeses for sale at Whole Foods around the region, so for those of you not in the immediate area, inquire about the following selections at your local cheese counter:
- Bucheron, a French chevre, is simply nothing like the ubiquitous logs of goat cheese found in most grocery stores. It is buttery and velvety with two different textures and consistencies; a wide creamy rind and a flakier, brighter interior. It is probably my favorite cheese and very hard to resist when I see it at restaurants or for sale at a shop.
- Any Taleggio is a winner in my book. A soft, Italian cheese that usually features a nice funky scent, taleggio pairs really well with a sweet spread, like a fig jam or the honey that it is served with at the Marliave. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
- For cheese that is made right here in New England, I can’t write about cheese without sharing my love for Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. Now, I love Cabot cheddar as my everyday cheese, but their special clothbound version really takes things to a whole new level. The crumbly texture and slightly sweet and nutty flavor makes this cheddar a real crowd pleaser.
Marliave serves up their cheese along with a great spread: fig jam, spiced walnuts, lavender honey and a choice of toasted breads. I suggest you pick up something similar for a great tasting experience! Marliave has some great recommendations for wine pairings with each cheese, and I have always really loved their suggestions (one idea in particular that I picked up from the café was to pair bubbly with creamy cheeses, like the Taleggio – Try it.) For more information, check out the cheese menu on their website for more pairing suggestions and to plan your visit!
Photos by splityarn and Shelby Graham