Although most the merch is usually out of my price range, I love stopping into cheese shops and specialty stores and just gawking at the fine food. This week I finally stopped by the famed Cowgirl Creamery in downtown DC. What a warm, friendly place! Simple racks and blond wood shelves showcase cheese, wine, preserves, charcuterie, and so on, in displays that are elegant, but forthright enough to avoid being gratuitous food porn. And they earn brownie points for serving Counter Culture coffee, a fair-trade roaster from North Carolina which has quite a following here in DC. Being more of a tea drinker myself, I got a cup of their iced tea infused with lavender, mint, and lemon – a perfect drink to counter the DC humidity.
I also liked that they prominently featured many local products, though they’re certainly not doctrinaire about it. I bought a great wedge of Maryland cave-aged cheddar that had much more nuttiness and complexity than any cheddar I’ve tasted. The cheese station is set up so that they can easily give out paper-thin samples of the wares, which was helpful. I might not have thought an expensive cheddar was worth it otherwise. And sampling helped me steer clear of a too-salty extra-aged gouda (never thought I’d meet an expensive cheese I didn’t like).