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Cheesy Chat with Pastoral


    sofi awardsSince 1972, the sofi Awards have honored the best of the best in specialty foods and beverages from members of the Specialty Food Association , a not-for-profit organization for food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs. Thanks to the support of the Specialty Food Association , Pastoral's Artisan Producer Festival can remain the largest FREE festival of its kind.
    A sofi Award represents culinary innovation from across America and around the globe. Finalists are selected at the Special Food Association’s offices in New York City by a national panel of specialty food retailers, foodservice professionals, and journalists. The winners are selected by retailers and food service buyers attending the Summer Fancy Food Show and are announced at a red-carpet ceremony. Learn more about the sofi Awards HERE . Not only does the Specialty Food Association support artisans and retailers through their prestigious awards, but thanks to their support, Pastoral's Artisan Producer Festival can remain the largest FREE festival of its kind.
    At Pastoral’s 5th Annual Artisan Producer Festival on April 25th, the following sofi Awards winners from across the U.S. will provide tastes of their specialty food products: American Spoon Foods, Big Picture Farm, Creminelli Fine Meats, Cypress Grove Chevre, Effie’s Homemade, Rogue Creamery, and Vermont Creamery.
    Sofi Apf 2015 500x500If you can't make it to the festival, have a few of the sofi Award winners' artisan treats delivered right to your front door with theSpecialty Food Association Medley ! Available in stores, or online.

    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.

    ale syndicateSamuel and Jesse Evans started their craft beer journey in California, bottling the very first and only craft beer in the city of Oakland. Success was abundant, but they missed Chicago and returned to establish a truly collaborative brewery focusing on strong flavors, pure ingredients and the power of coming together over something they love.
    After mastering home brewing, they started their own brewery in California with great success, but quickly realized that Chicago was their true home. They returned to the Midwest to create Ale Syndicate, crafting brews ideal for our city's palate. While waiting for their current city brewery to be finished, the team works with partner breweries in Illinois to make their craft beers a reality. This commitment to community and artisans supporting each other is exactly what the Artisan Producer Festival aims to celebrate.
    Try some of the brothers' delicious Ale Syndicate brews at Pastoral's 5th Annual Artisan Producer Festival .
    Held every Spring at Chicago's French Market , Pastoral's 5th Annual Artisan Producer Festival on Saturday, April 25th from 11 am - 3 pm 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.

  • Pairing Beer & Cheese for Chicago Craft Beer Month

    This month we're highlighting the amazing food-friendly beers of our hometown Chicago. There are a multitude of talented brewers churning out craft beer that pairs perfectly with artisan cheese. Stop in to one of our 3 retail locations or Bar Pastoral where we are showcasing selections from Une Annee Brewery, Lagunitas, Ale Syndicate and Begyle Brewing Company.

    Beer Cheese and Charcuterie ClassThe effervescent, grassy and cereal-like components of craft beer makes it an ideal pairing for artisan cheese. Use this guide to get started on your journey, but don't be shy! Take risks and enjoy your favorite beers and cheeses together to find out for yourself what works.


    5051Salty, mineral blues with a fudgy finish are a natural mate to rich, chocolate stouts and porters with bitter espresso notes. The density of these beers also make for a great mouthfeel for the richness of firmer blue cheeses like Stilton. Try the raw milk version, Stichelton with Omega Midnight Stout from Ale Syndicate for a dynamic dessert cheese plate.


    Good Thunder 500x500There are a multitude of styles, flavors and textures attributable to washed rind cheeses, making it nearly impossible to mail down one specific beer that works well with them all.  Interestingly enough, washed rind cheeses have a history steeped in the monastic traditions of washing their farmstead cheese in the beer they had brewed themselves. Any time your drinking a cheese washed in beer or liquor - try them together! One basic rule is too avoid hoppy beers like IPA which tend to enhance the bitter nature of washed rinds. Stick with brown ales and porters that will lend a bit of soft sweetness to these earthy cheeses.


    Beer And Cheese SmallIt's all too easy to smother the delicate flavor profile of a velvety and luscious bloomy-rinded cheese with an overpowering pairing. To lift and highlight them instead, pair them with citrusy bottle-fermented Belgian ales like Saison to cut through the richness. The bright, yeasty and refreshing beers add a much needed balance to the indulgence of triple cremes and aged goat cheese.


    2210Alpine cheese play so nicely with beer! They have a deep, earthy, meatiness to them that is mightily enhanced by amber bocks, Blegian pale ales, Flemish red ales and so much more. We really like firmer Alpines with a bit of crystals formed, like Challerhocker with beers crafted using Belgian yeasts. Try this brothy, savory cheese with Maya from Une Annee Brewery who specialize in French and Belgian style ales made with a proprietary blend of their native yeasts.


    Isle Of MullThis classic combination is one of the first most people encounter without even realizing it. What's better than a juicy cheeseburger and an ice cold beer?! The sharp and bold flavors of cheddar stand up nicely to the bitter nature of classic IPAs, revealing their tropical, citrus and floral notes. If you're looking to put a little Spring in your step for St. Patrick's Day, pair the Emerald Isle's Isle of Mull Cheddar with Begyle's Hophazardly for a blissfully balanced pairing that reveals the hidden spice in both components.

  • We're Growing! New Pastoral Location Coming to Andersonville

    Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine is pleased to announce that we have signed a lease to open a new location at 5212 North Clark Street in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The new location will feature a hybrid retail and restaurant/wine bar and will be the our largest project to-date. An undertaking of this size would not be possible without the amazing support of our producers, customers and local communities, and for that we are incredibly grateful!
    bway cheese counterThe new Andersonville location will offer an exciting extension of our European-inspired, neighborhood cheese and wine shops you know and love, which celebrate the highest quality, cut-to-order domestic and international specialty cheeses, freshly baked breads, perfectly chosen accompaniments and small production wines. At nearly 3,800 square feet, the space will be arranged into sections or “stations” to allow for an intimate environment with attentive and thoughtful service for patrons to experience and purchase high quality, hand-crafted products, including cheese and wine, charcuterie, gourmet sandwiches, custom gift baskets and artisan catering.

    “We’re fortunate to have found an incredible space for Pastoral in the heart of Andersonville, a vibrant neighborhood with a strong sense of community,"

    We could not be more excited to be welcomed into such a flourishing and inviting neighborhood; Andersonville boasts an exciting food culture and has become a top shopping and dining destination for Chicagoans and other visitors. “We’re fortunate to have found an incredible space for Pastoral in the heart of Andersonville, a vibrant neighborhood with a strong sense of community,” said Greg O’Neill, co-founder/owner of Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine.
    The new location is scheduled to open in late summer 2015. Pastoral’s current retail locations include: 2945 North Broadway; 53 East Lake Street; and Chicago French Market, 131 North Clinton Street. In 2012, we opened Bar Pastoral, an award-winning, Michelin Guide recommended cheese & wine bistro located at 2947 North Broadway.
    Follow us Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date on this exciting news!
  • Snuggle up with your love this month and treat them (and yourself!) to our new winter menu!

    belgain endive salad lowOur new dishes feature bright colors, piquant flavors and fresh ingredients to warm you up from the inside out. Our Belgian Endive Salad features creamy Fourme D'Ambert blue cheese from France, blackberries, toasted walnuts and orange vinaigrette tossed with crisp, fresh endive. A delicious way to keep that 'healthy eating' New Year's resolution.Roasted Root Vegetable Soup, Kale Saladand Mushroom Cakes with carrot fennel slaw and chili aioli are just a few of the light yet satisfying vegetarian offerings we've added to our menu.
    Mushroom Cakes Over Low
    Duck Confit LowOur larger plates feature hearty, comforting dishes to keep you warm all winter long. Slow cooking methods, roasted root vegetables and rich, savory sauces are the stars of our new seasonal menu. Braised Short Ribs with roasted rainbow carrots, cipollini onions and cauliflower puree is the perfect hearty course to keep you warm on chilly winter nights. Housemade Duck Confit served on a bed of whipped potatoes and charred brussels sprouts is drizzled with tart and aromatic pomegranate molasses - the perfect dish for sharing with that special someone over a few glasses of wine.


    Monteenebro Plate 2 LowSmaller plates offer the perfect opportunity to try a little bit of everything the season has to offer. From Housemade Charcuterie, elevated Bar Bites and Composed Cheese Plates - there's something for everyone looking for an elegant snack.  Focused plates featuring one cheese and a few select accompaniments are a great way to explore some of the more interesting and nuanced cheeses on our menu. Composed cheese plates like the Challerhocker Plate featuring a savory, nutty Alpine paired with chocolate peanut brittle, black pepper shortbread and butterscotch sauce offer a sweet unexpected finish. For a more savory exploration, consider the Monte Enebro Platewhich features an earthy, piquant and complex aged goat cheese from Spain paired with leek jam and housemade wheat crackers.


    We're celebrating Valentine's Day with a few special menu items to share with your special someone from Friday, February 13th - Sunday, February 15th. Our regular menu will also be available as well as select wine pairings:

    Valentine's Dinner Specials

    Cheese Plate  | 12

    Brillat Savarin with Almond Palmier "Hearts", Frisee with Champagne Vinaigrette and Cherry Balsamic Reduction

    Entree | 32

    Beef Cheeks, Butter Roasted Scallops with Jamon Serrano Wrapped Asparagus, Lobster Veloute and Coarse Ground Polenta

    Dessert | 10

    Robiola Rochetta Semifreddo, Pistachio Brittle and Strawberry Curd

    Valentine's Cocktails, available for brunch and dinner service

    Rose Gimlet | 10 - Letherbee Gin, cranberry juice, lime
    Heart 2 Heart | 10 - Journeyman Distillery Featherbone Bourbon, lime, topped with Bell's Two-Hearted Ale

    day 12 Reading RacletteCelebrate the 12th day of cheesemas with this classic holiday selection! This stunning raclette-style gem gives you lovely butter, easy fruit, and a gentle bite on the palette with a classically pungent nose. This cheese is made to be melted, especially in traditional Swiss cuisine!


    day 11 Gorgonzola MountainThe dense and creamy slopes of Gorgonzola Mountain await, reserving their spiced earthiness for only the most brazen of adventurers to tackle its summit. This is one of our more approachable blues, the perfect introduction to blue cheeses for those who have been tentative in the past.

    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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