Sure, there are cheese aficionados. And you might find a real-live cheesemonger at Whole Foods.
But only at Littleton’s Curds Cheese shop, at 2449 West Main St., will you meet Garrett Palecek — a “cheese magician.”
The magic is twofold, Palecek said: “I make it appear, you make it disappear.”
Curds Cheese, founded in 2015, offers a dizzying array of rare and high-end cheeses, available for snacking on- or off-site on meticulously arranged cheeseboards. The shop also boasts a host of salads, paninis, sandwiches and appetizers.
Now, with the addition of Spur brand coffee, Palecek hopes to take Curds to the next level as a place to ignite and delight the palate.
“Coffee and cheese are natural companions,” Palecek said. “Think about it: Why do you add cream to coffee? To take the edge off, maybe to taste some flavors you wouldn’t notice otherwise. Well, cheese is dairy, and it offers that same enhancement. Coffee and cheese play well together.”
Palecek brought high-end coffee into the shop last fall, he said, but after Spur Coffee mysteriously closed on Prince Street in February, he saw a good opportunity to bring in the beloved brand.
Palecek got his start in food a decade ago, as a purchasing manager for Coors Field — though that was mostly hot dogs and pretzels, he said. He later became a buyer for a Longmont-based cheese importer, and fell in love.
“There’s something romantic about how much love goes into cheese,” Palecek said. “Animals need to be happy to make good cheese. The farmers who produce what I carry, they love their animals. Cows with names make better cheese.”
The difference between his shop and a specialty grocer, Palecek said, is that he takes the time to get to know his cheeses long-term.
“They change as they age,” Palecek said. “Like this La Tur — it’s a combination of goat, cow and sheep’s milk, so it’s like unicorn cheese. It’s like cheese, butter and ice cream had a baby. It only lasts a few weeks, though, and the flavor profile is evolving the whole time.”
The shop is a delight to Althea Wingert, who on June 5 brought friends to share a $28 cheeseboard.
“I went to school in Wisconsin, where they make delicious cheese curds,” Wingert said. “Nowhere else around here can you get curds this good.”
By the end of the nosh session, Curds had won over Wingert’s friend Lynn Ashburn.
“It was like heaven on a plate,” Ashburn said of the cheeseboard. “Downtown Littleton has just ruined me with good food.”
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