For some, making a home-cooked meal using natural ingredients rather than popping a box of frozen food in a microwave seems to be a strange and foreign concept. Within Chestnut Hill, there is a gourmet store that offers items both from here and abroad.
Walking into the small shop on Germantown Avenue, you are greeted with a multitude of choice cheeses, preserved meats, pastas, olives, and peppercorns. Many of the cheeses are imported, but the friendly staff will step up to answer any questions you may have.
After I entered, the salesperson immediately greeted me and asked if there was anything she could do to help me. I told her I wanted to look around a bit because although it was a small space I had to get my bearings on the influx of items had to offer.
From hard candies sold in bulk to jars of exotic olives, there are options for every gourmand. There were items from England, Italy, and France and, of course, within the United States. It was like a sampling of one of the stores you would find in South Philadelphia concentrated right here on Top of the Hill.
I asked the salesperson about their cheeses, particularly their blue cheese. They offered a variation of cheese and she asked if I preferred a milder to stronger flavor of cheese. I gave my preferred level of aging and she suggested a cheese I encountered before—Maytag Blue.
A domestic cheese, Maytag Blue is an item that I had to buy in small quantities only to prevent myself from eating the entire round. Not overly pungent or strong, this cheese offers a great bite and is perfect to serve on a salad, steak, or with French bread and fruit. You will be tempted to stay within the store to try the different cheeses and bread available.
I sampled the cheese and the salesperson asked if there were any other anything else I wanted to try or interested me. Customers can sample cheeses what the expert staff can explain the aging, flavors, and regions the cheeses are imported from.
Ever since my introduction to foie gras, I’ve had sort of an obsession for all different kinds of pâté. The Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop offers spreads from several different fowls in both pâté and mousse versions.
One that caught my attention was a mousse de canard with Porto pâté. This spread was delectable and a good starter for anyone who would like to try pâté for the first time, but are hesitant. It is smooth and easy to spread on a mild-flavored cracker. Enhance the flavor of the mousse by paring it with grapes, apple slices, olives, or a sweet wine.
Although not as elaborate as a gourmet shop you may find in Center City or South Philadelphia, The Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop offers much more than you would expect. If you are a foodie, chef, or barely know the difference between Brie and cheddar you are in for a delight during a visit to this market.