Edible Long Island would like to welcome Denine and Daniele of We Know Stuff as new columnists covering parenting and cooking and eating in Nassau and Suffolk counties!
There are many things in life that go really well together. Peanut butter and jelly. Spaghetti and meatballs. Chocolate chip cookies and milk. We love them for their simplicity and often devour them with gusto. So when I found out that C’est Cheese in Port Jeff was leaning away from a time-honored pairing of wine and cheese, I had to find out more.
Rumor was that C’est Cheese was a secret little hiding spot for craft beer enthusiasts as well as cheesemongers and winophiles. I hadn’t been up to Port Jeff in ages and this little place sounded too good to be true. So I packed up the family one afternoon and headed up to the picturesque village to check it out.
The minute you turn onto Main Street, you immediately fall in love with this little town. Filled with just the right amount of mom and pop shops (and big retailers too), the streets were lined with people and everyone seemed to be in a good mood.
We found C’est Cheese nestled within a beautiful brick storefront with an eye-catching black awning out front. Upon walking in the door, we were greeted by an incredibly friendly waitress who escorted us to our table and proudly showed off the display case of cheeses. Although the restaurant wasn’t packed at that moment, the patrons that were there were enthusiastically gobbling down their selections.
As we opened up the expansive menu, our mouths started to water. From cheese boards to wine flights to beers that you can’t get anywhere else, this menu had it all. The owner, Joe Ciardullo, greeted us at the counter and answered all of our questions with ease. Not knowing what our children would do in such a new environment, we watched quietly as he asked the kids what type of cheese they ate at home and magically produced some samples for them to try before they ordered their cheese and fruit plate.
Now if you’re a parent, especially one of finicky eaters, you know this is nothing short of amazing. To be able to get my hangry children to happily try something new, especially when it’s so far out of their comfort zone, has to be some sort of magical power that only an incredibly knowledgeable cheesemonger could pull off.
As we sat back and watched, Joe laughed with the kids and continued to answer all of their questions. And believe me, there were many. Although we chose to sit at the bar, many others chose the tables flanking the windows that looked out onto the street. The cozy, modern-chic vibe of C’est Cheese sat well with us. It was like hanging out at your perfectly decorated, best friend’s house.
If we lived closer, I know we would be spending many more weekend afternoons there hanging out, eating cheese, and drinking good beer. One trip will never be enough and that’s perfectly okay with us.
Use the Jasper Hill Farm Moses Sleeper, an amazing Brie style cheese from a rockstar creamery in Vermont, to make our Barbecued Brie Appetizer this summer. Topped with local honey, cranberries, and nuts, it’s perfect for outdoor entertaining.