Simply put, cheese is our passion. It’s not just what we do, but who we are. We live and breathe it. We work with only hand-made artisan and farmstead cheese, hand selected from importers and producers from around the world – the artisans themselves – that has been properly stored and cared for, is ready to eat, and cut to order for you, from the wheel, at peak ripeness.
What does “artisan” mean?
Sadly, not very much anymore. Coming from the Italian “artigiano”, it once referred to skilled craftsmen who carved or created an item using their hands. When applied to food products, it had an implication of quality: meticulously handcrafted, small batch. Unfortunately, the word “artisan” has become a marketing buzz word that has been attached to everything from mass-produced tortilla chips and fast-food breakfast sandwiches to national brand pizzas that can be “delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less”.
But to us, it still means something. It means cheese made by hand, in small batches, using the finest ingredients, by skilled cheesemakers using traditional techniques from recipes passed down through generations – sometimes centuries old. It’s one woman, living high up in the mountain pastures of the Haute Maurienne in the French Alps, producing a stunning blue cheese by hand, using equipment handed down for generations through her family. It’s the Croatian shepherd, engaged in the ancient practice of transhumance, making cheese in his tiny stone hut high up in the Dinaric Alps, as his father did, and his father’s father before him. It’s also the goat-herding single mother of four girls living on the rugged coastline of northern California, whose talent with breeding goats left her with a surplus of milk which she slowly, patiently, and determinedly turned into one of the finest and most beloved cheeses this country has to offer.
Is there a difference between real, honest, artisanal cheese and the ones found pre-cut and wrapped in plastic in your local grocery store? Undeniably so. Is it more expensive? Without a doubt. Is it worth it? Absolutely. We can’t wait to show you!
Hans-Erich Vogel, Owner & Cheesemonger moved to Orange County with his family from College Station, Texas in 1972. The family first landed in Corona del Mar, staying at the Seahorse Inn on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Avocado (where Shape Up Fitness now stands) while their home in Irvine was being built. Growing up in a European household, ‘stinky’ cheese, cured meats and dense, crusty bread was the norm. While his friends ate Wonderbread with American cheese slices, he ate thick slices of powerful Tilsiter on Vollkornbrot, usually alone, at the far end of the lunch table, away from their overly sensitive noses. Later, he began his career in the culinary industry, first waiting tables, and later as a restaurant manager for BJ’s Chicago Pizzaria in both Laguna Beach and Balboa Peninsula. A move to Houston for college found him working for one of the top restaurateurs in the country where his appreciation for and understanding of food and wine exploded. After college, he moved into the corporate world in marketing and advertising. While successful, he longed for a return to his true passion of food. He often says, “I started my career doing something I truly loved before entering the corporate world, and then spent the next 20 years trying to get back”. In 2010, he completed the professional program at the Cheese School of San Francisco under Daphne Zepos and is currently working towards his WSET (Wine & Spirit Exchange Trust) certification with the Neptune School of Wine.
Miette Legrand, Catering Director
Andrew Taylor, Event Lead
Please enjoy our website, and then give us a call or email us today to discuss your upcoming event!