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Cheese Classes – Fall 2012 & Winter 2013

October 8th, 2012

Art of the Table’s Cheese Classes

All classes will be led by Art of the Table’s

cheesemonger, Kate Leeder.


or sign up for all four at $36 each.


Each class will have 5 or 6 cheeses to taste,

some appropriate cheese crackers & condiments

and will culminate with a sampling of wine or beer

You will also receive a coupon for 10% off your next store

cheese purchase after each class you attend.

Class starts @ 6:30pm and will last about 1 1/2 hours.

Must reserve & pay ahead through Art of the Table at 616.301.1885

Space is limited to 16 per class.

Cancellations must be made at least 72 hours in advance for a refund,

however if you cannot attend, you may send someone in your place!

2012 Fall Classes

 Monday, October 15         6:30pm             @ Brewery Vivant             $40

Cheese and Beer…meant for each other!

Brewery Vivant hosts us to try 5 of our cheeses paired with 5 of their beers! Tonight we’ll team up to teach you about how to pair wine and beer, and you can taste for yourself why this is such a great pairing!  Enjoy the ‘abbey’ atmosphere and amazing, food friendly beers of Brewery Vivant and the unusual and delicious cheeses of Art of the Table.  Space is limited!


Monday, October 22         6:30pm             @ Uptown Kitchen    $40

Italian Cheese and Salumi
On the heels of Cheesemonger Kate’s return from a food tour to Italy, Kate will share her enthusiasm for what she’s learned there along with the cheeses she has selected for us!  Though our favorite salamis don’t come from Italy, the person who makes them does! We have three amazing salamis made by Cristiano Cremenelli, and they make for an amazing experience paired with Italian cheeses.  We will do it up, with antipasti and more for the true Italian experience!


Monday, November 5         6:30pm             @ Uptown Kitchen    $40

Prepare the Plate!  How to Design Your Holiday Cheese Plates!

From simple to elaborate, we’ll give you examples of at least three different plate arrangements and let you try a number of cheeses and accompaniments to make your cheese plate shine.  With a little know how, you will be a well-informed cheese plate making machine!  Not our standard class, but great for preparation for the holiday!

2013 Winter Cheese Classes

Monday, January 14          6:30pm             @ Brush Studio         $55

Pull out your beret…we are going French AND artsy!

Join us at Brush Studio in EGR for a night to paint, eat & drink!  We’ll be painting a French scene (there will be an instructor there and it will be easy, no worries!), eating French cheeses, and drinking French wines!  Who knew you could do all of that at the same time & have fun too?!


Monday, February 4          6:30pm             @ Uptown Kitchen    $40


Intimidated by fondue? Do you think it can only be Swiss cheese?  Learn about the history, the ritual, and the how-to of fondue.  There are so many options for the cheese and the sides!  We’ll even provide a little dessert (chocolate fondue, of course!).


Monday,  March 4                    6:30pm             @Bar Divani             $40

Cheddar and Whiskey

Warm up your soul with a tasting of whiskey and cheddar.  The somewhat surprising combination will be an eye opening experience!  This will be a great way to taste the vast differences between whiskeys and cheddars – as you experience their creaminess & sharpness!


Monday,  March 18          6:30pm             @Uptown Kitchen             $40

Cheeeeeeese…the kind that oozes!!!

Join us for the cheeses that run and that we usually don’t cut.  Try these cheeses side by side and realize why they are so special and why it is worth it to indulge in the whole thing!!!  These cheeses can be the centerpiece of a meal, dessert or any get together! All my favorites: Valencay, Epoisses, Harbison, St. Felicien, and more!

Art of the Table’s Wusthof Deals!

October 26th, 2011

Fall 2011′s exciting Wusthof Deals are available now through January 2012!
We try to stock everything, but if we’re out, it’s only a one week turnaround!
Stop by and pick up a paper flyer if this just isn’t cutting it!

Uptown Summer Shop Hop!

July 13th, 2011

It’s time again for an Uptown Summer Shop Hop!
We hope you can join us as we make a party down Wealthy, Cherry, Lake Drive & Fulton!

Here’s a great map to get you around, check in on Friday afternoon or Saturday at businesses to pick up a sheet of offers from different businesses around the district!

Hope to see you down here this Saturday, July 16 from 10-3…and beyond!


Beverages are flowing at Art of the Table!

May 30th, 2011

We’re in full swing of our new schedule of wine & beer tasting events.  Join us!

It’s June, and that means Thursdays are for wine tasting!

Every Thursday in June we’ll be uncorking sample bottles to let you taste wines!  Our June theme is a bubbly, white & red.  Each Thursday one of each will be opened from a specific country. Come in each Thursday and learn by taste!

June 2 ~ Spain: Bubbly, White & Red

June 9 ~ Argentina: Bubbly, White & Red

June 16 ~ France: Bubbly, White & Red

June 23 ~ Italy: Bubbly, White & Red

June 30 ~ USA: Bubbly, White & Red


It’s June, and that means Fridays are for beer tasting!
Fridays in June we’ll be flipping open those sample bottles to let you taste beers:

June 10 ~ Local Ciders: Black Star Farms from Traverse City & Goldfinch Cider from Ada!

June 17 ~ Brooklyn Brewery

June 24 ~ Lagunitas Brewery

June 29 ~ Dark Horse Brewing Co.

All tastings from 4-8pm on their respective dates!


B Nektar B Good 4 Summer!

May 11th, 2011

Inspired by B Nektar’s website we were!

…we were inspired to have many varieties of B. Nektar Meadery’s mead on our shelf and keep them coming.

…we are inspired to describe just what is this B. Nektar is and they do a pretty great job on their site describing their processes and flavors, so i’ll mostly leave that to them but know that I as a non-sweet wine drinker LOVE mead for its fun honey flavor and range of sweet to dry.  Normally I will drink it after dinner as a sweet end to a hot day or evening, but check out this fun recipe that follows! Yum!


While trying to concoct our most recent batch of sangria for summer, we found this to be quite a charming and flavorful rendition of sangria.  Splurge on a little B Nektar this summer.  It’s local (Ferndale, MI) and it’s delicious and without further adieu…

B. Nektar Sangria!

Makes a little less than a gallon:

You will need:

- 2 bottles Wildberry Pyment B Nektar Mead

- 1 liter Ginger Ale – add more or less to taste

- 2-3 shots of Gin (Can use Vodka)

- 1 Large Orange

- 1 Large Lemon

- 1-2 Limes (use two if they are small)


- Mix Wildberry Pyment and Gin in a 1 gallon + container

- Wash and quarter all citrus and remove seeds

- Squeeze citrus into mixture and add to mixture (rinds and all)

- Refrigerate and let sit over night

- Add ginger ale to taste and serve (add right before serving to make sure it is bubbly)

Note: You can use club soda in place of the ginger ale. I have even added a tablespoon of honey or two with it.

I’ve never done this with Vodka, but if you hate gin, try vodka.

Cheeses of Spring

March 30th, 2011

We are constantly searching out the coolest in cheeses.  And this spring is in full swing with new – or renewed – selections that come from afar…and sometimes anear…

We’ve given you the scoop on a bunch of them below so you can read up and come find what sounds delectable!

Guffanti Robiola due Latti

Made in the Piedmont region of Italy, this is mostly from cow’s milk with a dash of sheep’s milk (therefore ‘due’ latti – meaning two milks) and is a delectable treat.  The paper thin rind covers an unctuous buttery paste that coats the palate. Mild and savory, creamy with a light lingering sweetness, this delicate pillow of soft-ripened cheese will be love at first bite. Champagne is a wonderful foil to this cheese, as are Cava and Prosecco.

Old Kentucky Tomme

Produced by one of America’s legendary cheesemakers – Judy Schad – at her Capriole Farms dairy in southeast Indiana. This refreshing and pretty goat’s tomme matures for up to 6 months, developing a natural rind and creamy, firm paste with mushroom overtones at peak. Its character and flavor are somewhat similar to the French Tomme de Savoie. An especially successful pairing partner for many white wines and lighter beers, we also recommend that you try pairing Old Kentucky Tomme with Chardonnay or dessert wine such as Sauternes.


The Julianna was a fortunate “mistake” of Old Kentucky Tomme.  Often when one small part of the cheesemaking process changes, the cheese will become a whole new deal.  This little cheese is buttery and smooth like Old Kentucky Tomme, but it’s more nutty and firm with a mushroomy natural rind of herbs like a Brin d’Amore or Fleur du Maquis. Cheeses with herbs aren’t everyone’s thing but the herb overtones are such an integral part of this cheese that it’s definitely an exception that affords trying!

Le Chevrot

A small drum of lightly aged & pasteurized goat cheese from Poitou (southwest France).  The tender, brainy looking but edible rind softens the cheese it covers, creating a thick, silk textured creamy outside. The center is moist, dense and flaky with a tangy flavor in youth that becomes increasingly piquant and nutty with age. It’s a beautiful, approachable cheese that pairs easily with the crisp Sauvignon Blancs of the Loire or grassy Spanish Albariño.


A  cute little round of mixed-milk cheese combining fresh cows’ milk, goats’ milk and a touch of Vermont cream. The goat milk is sourced from twenty family farms daily and the cow milk comes from a co-op in Vermont.  The cream is separated in the morning and delivered fresh — within few hours — to the creamery. The cheese has a smooth and creamy texture with a mild, fresh goat milk flavor. The Cremont has a crème fraiche finish with notes of cooked bread, hazelnuts and yeast.

Bonne Bouche

Bonne Bouche literally means good mouthful and is a French term used to describe a tasty morsel. Bonne Bouche can be enjoyed fresh or aged up to 45 days. As a young cheese, the texture is mild yet still acidic like a fresh chèvre. As the cheese ages, it becomes softer and the rind becomes more dry and piquant.  So good that it won first place for aged goat cheese at the American Cheese Society competition.

Roves des Garrigues (this was here…but it sold out in three days…wait a week or two, it shall return!)

…Doesn’t that sound regal?  It’s named after the breed from which the milk is derived – the Rove – and the place where the animals graze – the Garrigues – in Provence. It is essentially a “fresh” goat milk cheese with a natural rind.  The vegetation upon which the animals graze offers an immense amount of flavor for a younger fresh goat milk cheese. The flavor of thyme, laurel, fennel, lavender, citronella and other herbs of the Garrigues give accents to the flavor of this lovely little semi-soft cheese.

L’Edel de Cleron

It is made from gently pasteurized cow’s milk, banded with a strip of bark and aged to develop the oozy, runny character of a similar cheese called Vacherin Mont d’Or. The tradition of production stems from the climate and difficulties of living in the mountains; as when the winter came it was literally impossible to deliver milk to the Comte cooperatives, so people made smaller cheeses for home use that could be eaten within weeks. These young cheeses, being fairly fragile were banded with bark of a spruce, fir or pine to hold the shape for storage and serving. Even now these cheeses are best eaten from late fall to spring when the milk is most suitable for this type of cheese. The flavor of L’Edel de Cleron is perfumed with scents of the forest and a slight resinous aspect from the bark. The texture is very rich and creamy.


Cooperative Kaserei Zurwies of Bavaria uses organic and silage-free milk to produce this Limburger.  This cheese, with its elegant paste and buttery flavor belies the rather ‘naughty’ reputation that Limburger gained in the past. The thin rind develops from the light washings that this cheese receives during its one month of aging, just enough to give the cheese a luscious buttery flavor with the aroma of damp caves and a pudding texture.  The Bavarian Limburger makes a lovely match for most ales; the cheese also marries well with many full-bodied whites and fine red wines.

La Tur

From the great wine region of Piemonte comes La Tur: a dense, creamy blend of pasteurized cow, goat and sheep milk.  Runny and oozing around the perimeter and in the center displaying a moist but cakey, palate coating paste, its flavor is earthy and full with a lingering lactic tang. The effect is like ice cream served from a warm scoop; decadent and melting from the outside in. An ideal regional pairing would be a sparkling Asti as the effervescence will whisk away the richness while matching the mild acidity. We recommend you get backup; La Tur is always the first to go at a party.


A delicate and lovely little round from the Italian Piedmonts; in the “paglia” family of cheeses, so named because they are aged on beds of straw (paglia = straw). Covered with a bloomy rind, the voluptuous paste is mild, creamy, buttery and a little musty.  Eat it quickly, otherwise it might run right off the table – not that something this good will be around for that long. Made from pasteurized cow and sheep’s milk.


Original Tilsiter was made by the Swiss in the Emmental valley after they moved to the city of Tilsit in the mid 1800s. Mini Emmenthaler was the goal but different equipment, ingredients, and ambient cultures resulted in a more pungent invention with smaller holes. This Tilsiter comes from Germany where it has become quite popular. Eat it like a Prussian – often and with the darkest bread and beer around.

Hubbardston Blue

Robed in powdery grey mold as soft as a cashmere sweater, Hubbardston Blue is soft-ripened to almost a camembert style richness. Inoculated with penicilium roqueforti while still in its liquid state and aged thirty days, Hubbardston’s  goat cheese is creamy and complex with deep hints of emerging mushroom. 2nd Place – External Blue Molded Cheeses – 2010 ACS competition



Meredith Dairy Marinated Feta

Consistently an award winner, this soft textured feta style goat cheese is drenched in extra virgin olive oil and infused with garlic, peppercorns, spices and fresh herbs. So soft, it’s a perfect bread or salad topper or with an antipasto. You will find a reason to eat this cheese!!! The farm practices sustainable farming and uses 100% green power.

Humboldt Fog Cheesecake Joy!

March 30th, 2011

The first time I had Cypress Grove’s Humboldt Fog goat cheese, I was silenced.

It is so wonderful on it’s own, spread on a hunk of crusty bread with a simple glass of red wine…

But adding to it’s wonderfulness is its versatility.

Chef Kate has whipped up a delicious recipe of:

Humboldt Fog Cheesecake with Honey Poached Figs

Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog® Cheesecake with Vanilla and Honey-Poached Figs

Adapted from

Crust Ingredients

• 1.5 c crushed Effies Oatcakes

• 3 tablespoons sugar

• 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix to coat the crumbs evenly. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Cheesecake Ingredients

• 12 ounces Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog

• 8 ounces Smithfield cream cheese

• 1 vanilla bean, seeds only

• 8 ounces Vermont Butter & Cheese mascarpone cheese

• 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• 3 large eggs, separated

• 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

• 2 tablespoons sugar


Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees. Carefully cut the rind off of the goat cheese (the final product should be 10 ounces). Combine the goat cheese, cream cheese and vanilla seeds in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Add the mascarpone cheese and mix until combined. Add 1/3 of the can of sweetened condensed milk and mix until completely smooth. Mix in the remaining sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and egg yolks. Pour into a large bowl. Thoroughly wash and dry the electric mixing bowl–it should be free of any fatty residue. Place the egg whites into the bowl with whip attachment and mix on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tarter and continue to whip to soft peaks. Slowly sprinkle in the sugar and whip to medium-stiff peaks. Fold the eggs whites into the cheese mixture just until streaks of egg whites are no longer visible. Place the springform pan onto a sheetpan. Pour the cheesecake batter over the cooled crust and bake for 45 minutes. Rotate the sheetpan and bake for 10 minutes longer. Cool at room temperature then chill overnight. Serve with Vanilla and Honey-Poached Figs.

Vanilla and Honey-poached Figs


• 1 cup honey

• 1½ cup water

• 1 vanilla bean

• 1 piece lemon zest

• ½ teaspoon lemon juice

• 6 black Mission figs


In a small pot, mix the honey and water. Scrape the vanilla bean and add the seeds and pod to the pot. Using a peeler, peel 1 piece of lemon zest from the lemon and add it to the pot along with the lemon juice. Cut the figs in half then place in the poaching liquid. Over medium-low heat cook until just tender. Cool. Store the figs in the liquid and keep refrigerated up to several days.

Yields one 9-inch cheesecake.

Gifts in Baskets! Gifts on boards! Gifts on cookbooks!

March 25th, 2011

No matter what you desire in the gift realm, we would be more than happy to make you happy!

For friends, family, clients, employees or staff, we can customize gifts or gift baskets to fit your budget and your desired “look” or theme.  Check out some of the baskets we’ve made in the past!

Amy’s (but not that Amy’s) dinner thoughts

March 25th, 2011

My name is Amy, and I work at Art of the Table, but my name is not Amy Ruis.  I am the “new” Amy, known among staff as “tall Amy”, since I stand at an even 6 feet tall.  The name “long-armed Amy” has also come into play, especially when things are needed from a high shelf.  It’s a good thing that I’m not afraid of heights, since I get called to go up on the highest ladder quite frequently to do things like change lightbulbs :)

Today I wanted to talk, however, about another perk of working at Art of the Table – discovering some great food and wine!  Living as a single girl, I am often called upon to prepare dinner for just myself.  Usually this can make for some boring, repetitive meals, since no one is going to eat it but myself.  Tonight, however, I had quite a treat for dinner, and can thank Art of the Table for making it possible!

One meal I love to whip up for myself is a quesadilla made with cheese and refried beans.  Today I used Ossau Iraty cheese from our cheese case.  Yum yum!  I shredded it into my tortilla and it melted great on the stove top.  A fantastic sheep’s milk cheese from France, Ossau Iraty has a great creamy almost buttery, mild, and smooth flavor.  In fact, it’s recently become one of my favorite cheeses!

For dessert I indulged myself with an apple dipped in Smitty’s Hot Sludge. Wow – the decadence!  This hot fudge is made right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and not only is it local, it has a fantastic, home-style chocolate flavor. It’s just like you melt

Smitty's Hot Sludge

ed a chocolate bar down, only better!  It was great with my apple, and would be simply divine on some Ciao Bella Vanilla gelato!

To give it all extra bonus, I enjoyed a glass of our Coto de Hayas wine.  Probably our best-selling wine in the store, this wine has a great flavor rich in tannins yet smooth enough to drink on its own if you desire.  It’s got some great red fruit flavors and is a fantastic wine for the $9 price tag!  I will be highly recommending this to you if you come visit us at the store.

It’s the Most Basketful Time of the Year!

December 12th, 2010

We at Art of the Table do love making gift baskets!

It’s this holiday time of year that we make the majority of them, but we certainly do stay busy year round for events.

We have been known to make gift baskets for:

Gift box stack

  • That person who has “everything”
  • Welcome to a new job
  • New babies
  • Weddings & Showers
  • Housewarming
  • Bereavement – Another way to care for a friend
  • Retirement
  • Birthdays
  • Client & corporate gifts
  • Welcome to town for your visit – We will deliver to downtown Grand Rapids hotels free of charge!

For each basket we work hard to customize to your desires.

What goes in an Art of the Table basket?  It’s all up to you. 

  • You can come in and pick out the items and we will make it look beautiful!
  • You can tell us a price and a general theme you would like to work with and we can create!
  • We can add flowers from Wealthy at Charles or bread from Wealthy Street Bakery.
  • We are also willing to work with your corporate logo items or another item or two that means something to you and the receiver of the gift to add to the one-of-a-kind feel that we want for each gift we create!

One of the things we like to do is to be creative about our “baskets”.  They’re often not baskets but books, cutting boards, a bar tray, a cooler or Reisenthel basket.  We want to think about creativity for and with you to create a basket like no one has ever gotten before.

Please give us a call or shoot over an email with any questions you might have at any time.

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