Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hangriest Hour: Good Food Store cheese counter

Posted By on Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Sigrun Kuefner stands behind the petite cheese counter at the Good Food Store with a quite grandmotherly grin, aware, perhaps, that she is one of Missoula’s premier cheesemongers. A purveyor of fine washed-rind stinkers, stretched-curd quesos and Alpine tommes, her vague European accent (German) evokes images of Old World monasteries where habit-wearing monks in the Middle Ages praised God by perfecting the cow milk concoctions that we enjoy today.

“Cheese to me is healthy, unless you eat too much of it,” says Kuefner, a cheese stocker. “It should give you pleasure, especially after a hard day at work.”

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The goods: If you’re really deep into a cheese addiction, the GFS counter may not satisfy your every need, but it’s darn good for a small mountain town. There’s Epoisses, the rank orange-rind cheese matched in its pungency by the creaminess that makes it a favorite at every cheese counter in America. There’s a raw milk Taleggio that Kuefner’s hot on at the moment. She describes it as “both tangy and a little bit fresh, but not overpowering.” There’s Colston Bassett, a flaky farmhouse blue that is England’s answer to penicillium skeptics the world over. The counter even stocks an American-made burrata, a souped-up version of mozzarella that’ll redefine your idea of a caprese salad.

Cheese on the cheap: Maybe the best thing about the GFS counter is that they cut their wallet-busting selection into small pieces so students and ski bums can afford an occasional taste. And you can always ask for a free sample. “If you ever go into a cheese shop and they say you can’t have a sample, turn around and walk away,” says Jennie Gregory, who is the cheese buyer at GFS. In other words, that’s something you’ll never hear from Kuefner.

Who moved your cheese: Find Kuefner at the Good Food Store, 1600 S. Third Street.

Hangriest Hour serves up fresh details on western Montana eats. To recommend a restaurant, dish or chef for Hangriest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.

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