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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!


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!

Autumn reminds me of…butter & salt?!

November 7th, 2010

What I love about autumn?  The usual – leaf colors changing…crisp mornings when the moon and stars are still out and you can see your breath…and butter and salt.

Lest you think this sounds funny, I am actually a nut about these things and somehow they all taste better in the fall.

Let’s start with butter.  I love butter.  Butter is the main reason I go to the gym three+ days a week.  Butter could bet detrimental to my, well, take off the -er and there you have it!  In my family we tease that butter is the reason we eat bread.  I think butter is the reason i also eat butternut squash with a fever in the fall!  I think butter is the reason that bread just tastes so good!

Although I really enjoy regular salted butter, I love the butters we carry at the store.  We always stock the Vermont Butter & Cheese Cultured Butter with Sea Salt Crystals.  It comes in the cutest basket and I love that there is actually a crunch when I bite into this butter.  It’s got a long shelf life too which is nice – since I really shouldn’t eat it all in once sitting…

The other butter we sell in our cheese case is a goat butter.  It’s not local but it is from our friends in Canada.  It’s very smooth and creamy and has a particular flavor that reminds me of fresh goat cheese and a little floral nature.  It’s super delicious on bread and can be used for those with lactose intolerance as well…

The other thing I love to do in the fall is make compound butters.  Do I sound like a mad scientist?  Well, I’m not mad and the book we stock, Flavored Butters,  is fascinating in giving me ideas of what to make…along with a recipe we’ve fallen in love with using our Sarah’s Sea Salt Autumnberry Salt.  It’s great to keep in the fridge all fall & holiday season.

Here’s the recipe.  Happy butter & salting!

Autumnberry Compound Butter

1cup fresh or frozen cranberries

1/3 cup orange juice

1/3 cup sugar

Zest of an orange, grated

2 sticks unsalted butter

1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces (optional)

3/4 – 1 tsp Autumnberry Salt (to your taste)


In a small saucepan, bring to boil the first four ingredients.

Simmer until berries have popped and mixture has thickened.

Let cool.  Beat softened butter until creamy.

Fold in cooled cranberry mix, pecans and salt.

Store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

Serve with bread, spread on a sandwich or smother a delicious pork roast before putting in the oven!

Join the Party of the Year!

October 5th, 2010

We would love to have you join us at our annual gathering of amazing fun in just a few short weeks!

Jeni’s Ice Cream is our new addiction!

June 25th, 2010

jenis freezer
A certain customer of ours (still a mystery who it was!)
was in Columbus recently eating scoops of Jeni’s ice cream
when a conversation ensued about just where in Grand Rapids
would be the place to sell their frozen delights…

This turned into receiving samples which we ~ um ~ devoured.  We have noted a certain cross section of people that are ice cream ‘snobs’ and a bunch of us here are at least professing addicts

to the creamy bliss from many brands.
That said, this brand is heads & many tails above…

Their background?  Check out their great website for the whole picture but basically Jeni and her husband Charley own this artisan company in Columbus, OH.

Each batch is derived from “fresh ingredients found in the Ohio countryside as well as responsibly-raised exotics from around the world.”

Our current flavor lineup includes:

  • Salty Caramel
  • Bangkok Peanut (peanut, coconut and spice!)
  • Backyard Mint
  • Brown Butter Almond Brittle
  • Buckeye State (peanut butter & dark chocolate)
  • Meyer Lemon Blueberry
  • Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet
  • Mackenzie Creamery’s Goat Cheese & Roasted Red Cherries

jenis pints

If you’re intrigued to know more, their blog is pretty informative – telling their story of how they make their Backyard Mint and gives you a chance to see behind their scenes.

We think Jeni’s has amazing volume and richness in each pint.  There’s nothing like flavor of this sort to finish off your dessert…just last night in fact…

Artisans at Art of the Table

May 19th, 2010

We love our artists here at Art of the Table.  Granted we often have to buy things that are manufactured, but we love to have creative people working their hearts out to provide us cool things.

We are just wrapping up our newest accent to gift giving which are artists’ cards that explain who an artist is and where they’re from and their impetus for making their craft.

We also have selected our newest artist friend from Pennsylvania.  Chris is making these adorable cheese and herb markers for us.  Cheese ones can just stick in your wedge of cheese to identify it and the herb markers can dwell in your garden or even in your indoor pots or window boxes.  We’re selling them individually for $4.75 each.  Collect them all!


Speaking of cheese, most of our cheeses are artisan – handmade.  We are always searching out the next best farm and producer.  We love local, so we love Dancing Goat Creamery from Byron Center.  Barbara and her goats make fantastic cheese!

Here’s a short listing of other artisans we love:

Tassier’s Maple selections

Legends BBQ & dessert selections

Natalie Robyn’s Cherry selecions

Patricia’s Chocolates

Cherry Republic

Blueberry Haven

Eutopian Chocolates

Addictive Granola

Mrs. Dogs condiments

Dancing Goat Creamery


Naturally Nutty


Many selections of local beer, wine & spirits

Pearl’s Potholders

Marlee’s Toothpick Holders

Glass Formations

Linda Ippel Pottery

Cards by Deb Vranian

…and that’s just literally the beginning!

GO LOCAL!  Support the people behind the products and the stores!

Learning About Wine in More Ways Than One

May 9th, 2010

So I’ve never been the best student in the world; memorization and test taking are some of my least favorite things and least of the accomplishments in my book – I mean – why wouldn’t I go on to get another degree?  Because I feel like the world itself provides me learning and because I’m afraid that I wouldn’t make it memorizing bones of the body or judicial law or how best to teach a 1st grader to read :)

This weekend, however was different.  I decided, with a bit of prodding by one of my favorite wine reps, to immerse myself in wine learning.  The challenge?  To pass an exam given by The Court of Master Sommeliers.

This group was established, according to their website, “to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants.  The title Master Sommelier marks the highest recognition of wine and spirits knowledge, beverage service abilities, and professionalism in the hospitality trade. Education was then, and remains today, the Court’s charter. There are four stages involved in attaining the top qualifications of Master Sommelier: 1) Introductory Sommelier Course; 2) Certified Sommelier Exam; 3) Advanced Sommelier Course; and 4) Master Sommelier Diploma.”

Just to be clear, I was taking training on and graduated from Level 1 of these qualifications.  And to be even more clear, there are only 105 professionals who have earned the title Master Sommelier (graduates of Level 4) in North America. amys level 1 pin & diploma

So this weekend I succumbed to two days in a classroom and learned a ton!  Of course I had done some studying on my own ahead of time to work to memorize wine growing regions of the world along with their appellations and sub-appellations and which grapes grow where and why.

I sat in class and listened to three Master Sommeliers run through Power Point slides like nobody’s business for about 16 hours.  When we weren’t whirlwinding through this, I sat with four wine glasses in front of me (at 5 different times throughout the sessions) tasting wine ‘blind’.   We swirled, looked, smelled, tasted, spit and analyzed great wines (some of which we carry which made it extra fun!).  We talked it out each time and realized that there’s a ton I know and about 5 tons I don’t know about wine.

I had to confirm while sitting there that for this girl who isn’t into memorization of facts that one of the best things I’ve done for myself – and continue to do – is to travel.  As I sat in these sessions listening to them describe ‘schist’ and soil and clay and rocks and the Mistral ocean winds and the related areas in which certain grapes grow and why and how we can decipher these things…I realized what a truly visual and experiental learner I really am!

my friend dave in a Priorat vineyard

my friend dave in a Priorat vineyard

…I thought about how very lucky I am to be able to travel to different places in the world to see what the land is like, the grapes are like and how I know about the ins and outs – because winemakers have taken me into their wineries and vineyards and barrel rooms – to experience the very delights of really knowing what a wine is all about.  I was so excited to see a picture this weekend of the giant slate chunks of Priorat where I stood and the massive uprising of hills from the Wurtzgarten where I too climbed.

With the books and the class, I had a great time confirming where the Wahluke Slope  is and about the 1985 diethylene scandal of Austria – along with thousands of other things; and I basically confirmed I need to continue to read, listen, sell, taste and travel.

So in 18 days I leave to explore Chile and Argentina.  I plan to bring back knowledge and enthusiasm about a new place I’ve personally seen.  And I will take with me the knowledge I’ve been given via books, I’ll take with memories of all the things I’ve tasted along with my new tasting techniques learned this weekend and I’ll go armed to see the land, experience the climate and enjoy great food, wine, friends and places.

I love learning!


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