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    Hallå Andersonville!

    After much anticipation we are very excited to announce the opening of our fourth Pastoral retail location and second full-service restaurant, Appellation in Andersonville! We're thrilled to join the community and invite you into this 3,800 square foot space which features the products and menu items you already love, as well as a 75-seat restaurant and wine bar where you can experience them all together.


    Appellation - A Wine Bar & Restaurant with a Sense of Place

    daytime inside Dill ricotta gnudi with preserved lemon, beets, hazelnuts, butter and Pantaleo small

    Located inside of the new retail store, Appellation will offer guests a simple but amazing approach to food and wine with a sense of place, in a warm, inviting space. The restaurant’s name and menu inspires guests to appreciate the place of origin for each ingredient and wine pairing, as well as the farmers and producers with whom Pastoral has built great relationships over time. Chef Jesse Williams, a former Pastoral cheesemonger, has crafted an inaugural dinner menu featuring a range of rustic and creative cuisine using high-quality ingredients that highlight the notable cheeses Pastoral has championed for more than 10 years.


    maille mustard tap
    To accent our charcuterie station, we are very excited to feature exclusive White Wine mustard on tap from Maille, which is available in just two American locations outside of Chicago. Sharp, spicy and remarkably fresh, this draft mustard is unlike any you've experienced before. We will also carry several varieties of Maille’s premium jarred mustards, including Blackcurrant, Cognac, Walnut, Lemon & Harissa, as well as a premium Hazelnut oil.


    greg & kenWe are looking forward to sharing this new space and exciting retail and restaurant concept with our new neighbors in Andersonville and the city we've called home for over a decade. Please join us for the celebrations, hope to see you there!

    - Ken Miller & Greg O'Neill


    spring cheese blogSpring is a wonderful time to explore seasonal varieties of artisan cheeses which aren't typically available year round, or hit the peak of perfection when paired with the flavors of the season. Nothing beats a classic grilled cheese or dunking a fresh baguette into a velvety bloomy rind, but here are a few of the ways we're branching out our cheese repertoire this Spring.









    pff chevre and pear tree
    Melting a few slices of Gruyere into an omelet is sure to enhance the most important meal of the day, but citrusy, fluffy cheese like sheep milk Brebis or fresh chèvre are wonderful breakfast staples. Topped with fresh fruit, honey, preserves, or olive oil these cheeses are lower in fat while imparting the important protein, vitamins, calcium and minerals you need to start your day.



    etude 500x500

    One of the best parts of Spring dining is the bounty of fresh, green vegetables. Sweet peas, asparagus, artichokes and ramps are all amazing when paired with the naturally grassy and lactic cheeses coming into season. A bright salad of shaved asparagus or celery drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper pairs perfectly with a grating of Etude from Andante Dairy. Try it over chilled Spring pea and ricotta ravioli for a bright yet filling pasta salad for warmer months.


    Covered in Herbs

    pecorino camomilla 500x500

    A large part of why artisan cheese is so delicious is that the farmers (who are oftentimes, also the cheesemakers) who care for the animals providing the milk truly care about their herd and the land they are raised on. Their lush surroundings, vibrant scenery and healthy diet imparts a signature herbal, grassy and earthy flavor into a lot of the fresh Spring cheeses you will find in our case this time of year. For that reason, cheese aged in a covering of herbs or whipped with fresh ones is such a harmonious combination. Most people are familiar with goat cheese coated in herbs like Dutch Girl Creamery's Chèvre Frais, but a unique offering like Pecorino Camomilla - coated in chamomile tea is a delightful addition to a Spring cheese plate.


    Start 'Kidding' Around

    juliana 500x500

    Spring is known to the cheesemaking community as 'kidding season' - the time when baby goats are born and there is an abundance of fresh goat milk. You'll find that most goat cheese aren't aged for very long, due to their tendency to become a bit gamey after extensive aging. However you will find that a little bit of aging goes a long way with Julianna from Capriole Farms, aged for just 3-6 weeks in a light coating of herbs. For a mellow washed rind with a complex palate, try Baetje Farms' extremely seasonal Fleur de la Vallee - it's toasty, buttered bread paste is the perfect complement to crisp, refreshing lagers.


    Paired with Wine

    It's no surprise that pairing cheese with wine is one of our all time favorite ways to enjoy cheese. If you've been inside of one of our stores, you may have noticed that we arrange our wine wall to reflect to reflect the cheese in our case. That means that every bottle we source is a an ideal pairing for artisan cheese, and furthermore we keep them arranged from to light to heavy to make pairing them with subtle to more more complex cheeses much easier. Here's a small sampling of the wine pairings we're playing with this Spring:



    Spritzy and fresh with notes of yellow apple and green pear with the slightest and most fascinating whisper of bubbles on the finish, this wine is Chicago summer in every sip. The ideal pairing for most wines in our cheese case but its magical with the Wabash Cannonball.


    fiction rose can 500x500

    A bold and beautiful Rose that's mostly Grenache that's perfect for outdoor drinking all summer long. Strawberry and cherry fruits followed by a touch of spice make this an ideal match with Prairie Fruits Farms' Chèvre Frais.


    A sunny interpretation of Pinot Gris with just the slightest touch of sweet on the finish. We've also enjoyed how easy it makes our life at the bar. This wine is EXTREMELY versatile in food pairing and quite refreshing on its own but we really really like it with Zingerman's Manchester.


    baetje farmsBaetje Farms is situated in the oldest town in Missouri in Sainte Genevieve County, amidst a land rich in agricultural diversity.
    Steve Baetje prides himself on the great care he takes of his goat herd. The animals are free to do whatever they’d like over acres of land including drinking from an endless supply of natural spring water. During kidding season, all the fresh milk produced is used for fresh goat cheeses and well as beautifully aged ones.
    Their Marinated Feta is the perfect Spring treat to add to add to salads, pasta or as a savory snack on its own; meet the makers, sample these cheeses and more at our 5th Annual Artisan Producer's Festival.
    Held every Spring at Chicago's French Market , Pastoral's 5th Annual Artisan Producer Festival on Saturday, April 25th from 11am - 3pm is a FREE tasting and meet-the-maker event features producers of artisan cheese, bread, beer, wine, charcuterie, confections, and other food stuffs. Along with a stage show packed with chef demonstrations and informative panels.
  • Pastoral's 5th Annual Artisan Producer Festival!


    Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine and the Chicago French Market are proud to announce the 5th Annual Pastoral's Artisan Producer Festival at the Chicago French Market from 11 AM to 3 PM on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

    apf 2014 jasperThis is a FREE tasting and meet-the-maker event featuring producers of artisan cheese, bread, beer, wine, charcuterie, confections, and other food stuffs. Each year we are blown away by the support and enthusiasm of not just the producers that we and the other Chicago French Market vendors are proud to represent, but by the tremendous turn out by you, our loyal and wonderful customers.
    In addition to cheese-makers and mongers from around the world, there will also be producers of beer, wine, and accouterments. You'll meet confectioners, beer and spirit makers from right here in Chicago and around the world. The event will also feature artisan producers featured at Pastoral’s neighboring Chicago French Market vendors.
    to visit our festival event page for a peek at the producers, vendors and stage lineup for the big day! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date on festival details as they are announced.
  • NEW Selections from Neal's Yard Dairy

    For over 35 years, Neal's Yard Dairy has been working directly with farmers and producers of traditional, artisan cheeses in the UK to hand-select, age and distribute the many traditional and fantastic cheeses of the British Isles.  By visiting farms and cheesemakers often and providing them with valuable feedback from their market and wholesale customers (like Pastoral!), Neal's Yard has crafted a unique relationship where each product is far more than the sum of its parts.

    While you'll always find a few selections from Neal's Yard in our cheese case - like the raw milk Stichelton or sharp and grassy, Montgomery's Cheddar - we've brought in a few more of our favorites to showcase this Spring. Ask your cheesemonger about their favorite pairings and sample a few of these stellar cheeses from Great Britain and Ireland.


    ardrahan1This sticky and pungent washed rind is much milder than its smell suggests. Made by the Burns family in County Cork, Ireland, the mild and damp climate is ideal for aging scrumptious wheels of smooth and luscious washed rinds with savory, smoky flavors and a tangy, ocean spray finish.








    CooleaCheesemaker Dicky Willems is a second generation cheesemaker, whose Dutch family moved to Coolea, Ireland to change up the pace from the restaurant world in Amsterdam. Cheesemaking was but a hobby for the Willems that grew into a farmstead cheesemaking operation and eventually into their current ability to make enough cheese for a small international following. The cheese is complex, with flavors that are rich and sweet--hints of hazelnuts, butterscotch and honey shine through.






    Isle of Mull Cheddar

    isle of mullThis monstrous clothbound cheddar hails from small, lush and mountainous island just west of Scotland. This cheddar is incredibly moist, with a soft texture and wild, fruity farm flavors. The yeasty flavors of the cheese are attributable to the spent grain from a local distillery which the cows feed on during winter months when Island resources are slim.

  • Sweet Blue Dreams for the 8th Day of Cheesemas

    day 8 Blue D'AuvergneOn the 8th day of Cheesemas, my cheesemonger gave to me - a french blue, piquant and dreamy.

    A true French classic, made with the same blue mold used to make the famous French Roquefort, Bleu d’Auvergne is a more buttery, mildly spicy cow’s milk blue. The soft, creamy paste is subtly salty with sweet, grassy notes.

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

  • Ho Ho Ho - Pimento! The 7th Day of Cheese!

    day 7 PimentoOn the 7th Day of Cheesemas, my cheesemonger gave to me - Pimento cheese so sharp and garlicky!

    Our housemade pimento cheese is the crowd-pleasing, cheese spread dreams are made of - featuring Widmer's Cheese Cellars 1 Year Cheddar and Grafton Aged Cheddar from Vermont. The two cheeses are blended with mayo, peppers, garlic and spices for a delightful snack that can't be beat. Top crackers with the flavorful Southern spread, or build the perfect sandwich with salami, tomatoes, pickles and Pimento, of course!

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

  • Celebrate the 6th Day of Cheesemas with this Salty, Spanish Delight!

    day 6 Mahon CuradoOn the 6th day of Cheesemas, my cheesemonger gave to me - a firm washed-rind so robust and salty!

    This cheese has a natural rind and has been washed in its youth with a salt water brine. Made with raw cow milk, the flavor profile is robust, salty and stinky with a lingering taste of salty bacon. Each bite is a little reminder of the cheese's origin, the rocky Mediterranean island of Menorca. The pastures are constantly brushed by sea winds and the high humidity of the area coupled with heavy rainfall give the cheese high acidity and natural saltiness. The salinity of Mahon Curado pairs brilliantly with sweet, nutty Jamon Iberico and sharp, tangy mustards.

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

  • Shhhh...The 5th Day of Cheesemas is a Secret!

    day 5 Secret de CompostelleOn the 5th Day of Cheesemas my cheesemonger gave to me - a firm, basque style cheese!

    Similar to Pastoral crowd-pleasing favorite, Ossau-Iraty, Secret de Compostelle is a firm Basque-style tomme made in the Pyrenees region of France from Spanish sheep milk. The sheep milk imparts a rich, toothsome paste with notes of hazelnut, grass and sweet cream. Its mild and pleasant texture makes an ideal addition to a holiday cheese plate, as it pairs well with condiments and accoutrements both sweet and savory. Try it with tart berry jams and spreads, or melted into quiche or tart!

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

  • Festive and Fruity Cheddar for the 4th Day of Cheesemas!

    day 4 Prairie BreezeOn the 4th Day of Cheesemas my cheesemonger gave to me a fruity cheddar known as Prairie Breeze!

    Milton Creamery was established in 2006 as a partnership between Amish dairy farmers and the Musser Family. The Musser Family in Milton, IA uses milk from local Amish dairy farmers to create some of the most consistently delicious and award-winning cheeses today.

    The Musser family has trusted the cheesemaking to their son Galen, who has been in charge of cheese production since he was 16 years old - winning his first award at 17! The Pastoral favorite, Prairie Breeze not only secured Galen his first U.S. Cheese Championship award, but continues to be an award winning cheese to this day, with its crystalline texture and flaky shards of flavor.

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

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