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    Make a List and Check it Twice - Our NEW Gourmet Gift Catalog Has Arrived!

    From the cheese and wine novice, to the discriminating gourmand, our new gift guide features collections that serve as a guided exploration of some of our favorite products.

    We pride ourselves on taking the time to not only sell artisan products we deeply care about, but to also give our customers the opportunity to expand their knowledge of artisan foods with each visit to our stores. These educational gift collections bring that signature Pastoral experience right to your door so you can taste your way to cheese expertise!



    cheese 101 2 500x500 wine 101 500x500

    Treat your favorite foodies to a little beginner's luck with a delicious introduction into the world of cheese and wine pairings. Cheese 101 makes the world of artisan cheese is a lot less intimidating with a collection of varied styles and flavors to introduce you to the basics of cheese. Pair it with Wine 101 which features classic varietals from familiar regions that offer a straightforward introduction into the vast world of wine.


    best of the midwest 2 500x500 sweet home chicago 500x500

    Our hometown heroes,  Best of the Midwest and  Sweet Home Chicago are back this year, with a refresh of course! Loaded with our favorite local products, they make a wonderful edible postcard.

    chicago farmers market 2 500x500

    We are also very excited to introduce a new Windy City-inspired collection - Chicago Farmer's Market - which features a few of the delightful products you'll find at our seasonal outdoor markets all over the city. This collection of fluffy, fresh chèvre from Champaign, crisp housemade toastettes, spicy, spreadable Calabrian salami and sweet heirloom tomato relish is just a small taste of what our city has to offer from our talented locals.


    comfort food 2 500x500

    Gifts for every occasion are also featured this year, like the Comfort Food  collection which includes comforting array of sweet, savory and familiar treats when you can't deliver a hug in person. Slightly salted French butter, old school Wisconsin brick cheese spread and sweet ginger pickles provide a salty balance to the sweet, nutty Gruyère, fluffy, double cream Manchester and flaky oat cakes. Delightfully crisp chocolate-covered pretzels provide the perfect sweet and crunchy finish to this heartwarming spread.

    gourmet gratitude 2 500x500

    If you find yourself looking for a bounty of handcrafted and indulgent treats to express thanks when a card and flowers won't do, the Gourmet Gratitude features a variety of distinct salami, cheese and pantry items to show your thanks. Rich and complex Caveman Blue pairs beautifully with raw honey from Spain and uniquely spiced chocolate ‘salami’ from Olympia Provisions. Pickled mustard seeds add sharp acidity and unique texture to a savory, spicy Alpine and earthy goat salami. Locally crafted preserves in sophisticated flavors are a sweet, yet subtle accompaniment to smooth aged goat cheese from LaClare Farms.


    world traveler 500x500 connoisseur 2 500x500
    Abundant gifts like the globally-inspired World Traveler feature world class products that are the best in their category. The Connoisseur  goes beyond the basics of artisan cheese to explore the world of elegant, esoteric cheeses, rich in history and complex flavors.


    © 2014 Galdones Photography

    Visit us at any of our 4 retail locations in the city of Chicago, including our brand new location in Andersonville which features a full-service, 75 seat restaurant - Appellation . You can alsoshop online for in-store pickup , local delivery and nationwide shipping .

  • Celebrating 10 Years in Chicago with our New Gift Collections

    In 2004, Ken Miller and Greg O'Neill opened Pastoral in Lake View with a mission to provide Chicago with the highest level of service and education for our customers, striving to make shopping for and consuming artisan goods enlightening, approachable, fun and delicious. We’re eager to continue finding even more ways to inspire and be inspired by our cherished community of customers, artisans and food lovers. To that end, you’ll find that our 2014-2015 Gift Catalog pays homage to the community we hold so dear - featuring medleys and collections that reflect our iconic neighborhoods and hometown roots.


    © 2014 Galdones Photography

    Each Collection and Medley is a careful reflection, an edible postcard from the city we call home. The Lake View Collection features Pastoral customer favorites like crowd-pleasing Ossau-Iraty, grassy and sharp Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and Neal’s Yard Dairy’s famous Stichelton. Andante Dairy’s dense and luscious Picolo is perfect topped with Small Batch Preserves from Quince & Apple. Team it all up with Potter’s Crisps and single varietal honey, and it’s the perfect Pastoral experience.




    © 2014 Galdones PhotographyYou'll find old favorites like the Gourmet Gratitude
    and Best of the Midwest in this year's catalog too, with generous upgrades and remarkable artisan products that have truly inspired us.

    For gifts beyond cheese, the charcuterie-laden Back of the Yards Medley has everything a carnivore's heart could desire, while the Sweet Home Chicago is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.


    © 2014 Galdones Photography

    The eclectic mix of artisan pantry items and bold cheeses found in the Wicker Park and Fulton Market Collections is ideal for the keen food lover in your life. The Wicker Park Collection is named after Chicago’s hip and artsy neighborhood, and features artisan treats that are sure to please even the most discriminating palate. Brabander Gouda from the Netherlands can only be described as magical, while Rogue River’s Smokey Blue proves that the only way blue cheese could be better is to smoke it. Chocopods in crazy flavors, sweet and savory sea salt caramels and Croatian fig and cocoa spread sweeten the deal. You won’t find a better brew that Bow Truss’ Cold Brew Coffee to wash it all down.

    © 2014 Galdones Photography

    Located just west of downtown Chicago, Fulton Market
    is home to artisan producers, groundbreaking restaurants and a food community committed to exploring new tastes and concepts with a bit of old school tradition thrown in. Spicy Hop Pickles from Brooklyn Brine and bouncy, buttery St. Malachi pair excellently with Barolo from West Loop Salumi made in the Fulton Market neighborhood. For a hit of subtly sweet spice, top it with Chili Jam from American Spoon. The smooth, bourbon infused O’Banon goes down easy with Dick Taylor’s Single Origin Bars for a sweet finish.

    Perfect pairings of delicious items that just go better together are also available as Duos
    ; they're perfect as hostess gifts, party favors and stocking stuffers. We've paired our favorite cheeses, spreads, utensils and condiments for miniature gifts to fit any taste.

    © 2014 Galdones Photography

    Our Monthly Clubs offer the Pastoral experience delivered right to your door each month. Centered around the artisan products that we carry in our stores, as well as exclusive, small-batch items, each cheese, charcuterie and pairing membership includes an educational and insightful narrative to share the unique story, style and origin of each product, how to best enjoy them and what inspired us to share them with our members. All of our clubs give you a chance to expand your palate as well as your knowledge of cheese, charcuterie and wine while exploring the seasonality and pairing possibilities of our favorite products.

    Shop our new gifts in stores, online or download a PDF of our 2014-15 Gift Catalog HERE.

  • Pastoral Presents: The 9th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 9th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...A Downy-Rinded, Triple Creme Brie

    brillat savarin blog and facebook day 9 redoCreated by Henri Androuet in the 1930S, Brillat-Savarin is a rich and silky triple crème cheese named after 19th century gastronome and epicure, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

    Brillat-Savarin is a classic triple crème produced in the Ile de France region by 3 generations of cheesemakers at Fromagerie Rouzaire. Putting the quality and heritage of their product first, the milk is sourced daily from 25 farmers of the Seine and Marne region. After aging the cheese for 4-6 weeks it develops a fluffy, bloomy rind along with a complex taste of butter, salt and cream with a hint of mushroom and hazelnuts.

    Triple crème cheeses are known for their lusciousness, due to their minimum 75% fat content. To achieve this, the cheese is made with heavy cream added to the whole milk during production. Traditionally seen as a dessert cheese, Brillat –Savarin pairs well with pale ales and light fruity white wines like Riesling or Champagne, making it perfect for holiday celebrations.

    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!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 8th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 8th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...Manchego Named For Don Quixote

    1605 manchego blog and facebookThis young manchego, aged for only six months, is made by Maria José at Finca Sierra La Solana Farm, where 500 ewes graze amongst the farm’s almond trees and grape vines. The cheese is hand-made from unpasteurized milk and aged with a natural rind rather than a wax coating, allowing the cheese to breathe as it ages, so the flavors develop without becoming overly sharp or piquant.

    1605 Manchego is the newest addition to the sublime import portfolio of Essex Cheese. (Longtime cheese club members may already be familiar with some of their other offerings, such as l’Amuse Signature Gouda.) They have long been among Pastoral’s favorite cheese importers, selecting only the best of Europe’s traditional cheeses. Every wheel that they bring to the United States is tested for quality, texture, flavor and its ability to withstand the long journey across the Atlantic.

    The cheese hits the palate with an earthy, meaty flavor that sweetens as you eat it, finishing with notes of almonds and cassia bark. In the case of this Manchego, the classic pairings hold especially true: Salty Marcona Almonds, Jamon Serrano, Rioja wine and Extra Virgin Olive Oil are all flavors of Spain’s central plateaus that ring true to the region’s arid climate and sultry flavors.

    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!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 7th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 7th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...L'amuse - C'est tres bon! Oui, Oui!

    l'amuse blog and facebookL'amuse is an excellent example of the close relationship between cheese production and curing, or affinage. Extra large wheels of Gouda are made at the Cono cheesemaking plant in northern Holland. Wheels are then carefully selected and aged by Fromagerie L’Amuse in Amsterdam for two years before they are exported to the US.

    L’Amuse matures its Gouda at a slightly higher temperature than normal. The result is a cheese the color of amber with an even formation of Tyrosine protein crystals. (Those are the fun crunchies that you’ll experience as you eat this cheese, proteins that form as cheeses lose moisture during the aging process.)

    The flavor of L’Amuse is varied and nuanced; notes of hazelnuts mingle with the flavor of dark salted butterscotch. The texture is velvety with the distinct bite of the amino acid crystals interspersed throughout. This cheese completely it destroys the lines between sweet and savory as it defies the definitions of soft and hard.
    L’Amuse Signature Gouda is great with nutty brown ales, but if you really want your socks knocked off, give it a whirl with a nice dry sherry.

    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!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 6th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 6th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...Red Rock Cheddar, Blue & Veiny

    red rock blog and facebookWith the help of his father and neighboring “rock star” cheese-maker Willi Lehner, Chris Roelli developed his first (and signature) specialty cheese, the Dunbarton Blue. Red Rock was added to the Roelli cheese line-up about a year ago, and Chris calls it “Dunbarton’s little cousin.” Like the Dunbarton, it starts as a cheddar base with blue mold spores introduced near the beginning of the cheese-making process. The Red Rock is then dyed with Annato (about twice as much as your typical Wisconsin cheddar) and made into 40-pound blocks. After these are cut down to 5-pound blocks and hand-spiked to allow the blue mold access to oxygen to bloom, the cheese is cave-aged for 3-4 months, during which time it develops a natural blue rind.

    The cheese is made to mirror the local red soil after which it is named. Visually striking with a surprisingly creamy and pliant texture, the light blue veining adds just a touch of piquancy to Red Rock. Chris describes it as a “working man’s cheese,” perfect for melting over burgers, in your favorite grilled sandwich, or added to the pastry of your grandma’s apple pie for an added punch of color and 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!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 5th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 5th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...A Green Hill Golden Dream

    greenhill blog and facebookAl Wehner’s family had been dairy farmers since before their immigration from Germany to New York. He and his wife Desiree discovered the mild winters and sunny warmth of the south and for nearly 20 years they operated a conventional American farm with thousands of cows that were fed on silage.

    In the early 1990's, the Wehners attended a seminar in Wisconsin where they were introduced to the concept of rotational grazing. These days at Sweet Grass, the cows spend about 22 hours every day happily grazing in lush southern fields. They are moved from one pasture to another every 12 to 24 hours, which maintains consistent regrowth and renewal of the grasses and gives the cows a healthy, varied diet.

    Green Hill is a double-crème cheese made in a camembert style. Its thin bloomy rind and rich golden paste offers subtle flavors that are best enjoyed at room temperature. The diet of the cows is reflected in the sweet grassy flavors as the silky texture of the cheese coats your mouth like butter.

    This hand-made cheese is super delicate; you may notice some friendly blue, green and white mold taking up residence on its rind. These molds are natural and normal, and are perfectly safe to eat. If you prefer not to, though, feel free to gently scrape the mold off with a knife before you enjoy your cheese!

    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!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 4th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 4th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave To Me...A Dreamy Drum of Driftless Sheep Cheese

    driftless blog and facebookDriftless is a fresh sheep’s milk cheese that derives its name from the Driftless region of southwest Wisconsin, where Hidden Springs Creamery is located. There, Brenda and Dean Jensen raise their herd of 250 sheep on 80 acres on lush, rolling fields that were left untouched by glaciers more than a dozen millennia ago. That’s how the region – and the cheese – got its name, as the only region in Wisconsin without the “drift” of sand, silt and rocks that were left behind after the glaciers rambled through.

    The Jensens raise two breeds of sheep, whom they affectionately refer to as “the Ladies.” East Friesian sheep are prized for their high milk yield, and Lacaune sheep, whose fat and protein-rich milk is famed for its association with French Roquefort. The sheep graze on horse-tilled pastures that lie right in the heart of Amish country. The Jensens are active members of their surrounding community, and employ a number of their Amish neighbors for both farm and construction projects on their farm.

    Driftless was Brenda Jensen’s first cheese creation. The flavor is mild and tangy, just like a fresh goat’s milk cheese, with the rich fattiness of a sheep’s milk cheese, and the mildest earthy flavor that lingers on the finish. We enjoy it in both sweet and savory roles, whether whipped with lemon and served with lox or drizzled with your favorite preserve or honey, you’ll find it to be a warm but refreshing feature of any meal.

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of a tub of this amazing cheese!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 3rd Day of Cheesemas

    On the 3rd Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...A Pantaleo Bright & Citrusy

    pantaleo blog and facebookSardinia is strongly associated with a number of excellent sheep’s milk cheeses, but Pantaleo, an aged goat’s milk cheese from the island (the second largest in the Mediterranean!), Pantaleo stands apart from the rest. The tangy bone-white cheese complements oil-cured vegetables and charcuterie, but it is also excellent grated over pasta or roasted potatoes.

    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!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 2nd Day of Cheesemas

    chiriboga blue blog and facebook day 2 redoOn the 2nd Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...A light and Creamy Blue From Germany

    What do you get when you take an Ecuadorian cheesemaker and a 100 year old Roquefort rip-off recipe and drop them in the stunningly beautiful Bavarian Alps? Chiriboga Blue!

    Created by Arturo Chiriboga in Bad Oberdorf, this blue cheese is modeled after a recipe created by Basil Wexler in 1902 to rival his favorite Roquefort cheese. Arturo makes his cheese in a dairy co-op, Obere Muhle, which sources local milk of exceptionally high quality.

    Despite its connection to Roquefort, Chiriboga is much more mild and buttery with some light grassy notes. It pairs decidedly well with light, aromatic white wines as well as light-bodied red wines like Burgendlander

    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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