Pecorino Toscano PDO
The Cheese boutique is in Toronto
There is a shop in Toronto, where gastronomic excellence from all over the world have been meeting for fifty years. We are talking about Cheese Boutique. Afrim Pristine is the owner, a real “hunter” of quality products and a great cheese expert.
When was the Cheese Boutique born, and what are the main products of your Cheese Boutique?
Cheese boutique was started in 1970 by my family. We have 500 cheeses from all over the world, but we also have around 8,000 different products as part of our grocery goods program. Olive oils, vinegars, chocolates, coffee, jellies, bakery program, meat aging program, catering program, prepared foods and much much more. We like to think of ourselves as a specialized food shop.
You are a big fan of cheese. How was this passion born?
I love cheese. I’ve learned making and aging cheese from some of the best in world. I’ve travelled a lot all over north America and Europe always trying to learn more and more. This is also what I’ve done since I was a child. Cheese boutique is a family business and I grew an appreciation for cheese at a very young age. Cheese provided for my family for almost 50 yrs. I’m continually striving to learn more and understand cheese better. My clients rely on me to offer them a great cheese experience and I’m quite proud of that.
Some months ago you visited Pecorino Toscano PDO production and land. Tell us about this experience and what do you think about our cheese.
I have visited tuscany a few times within my career. I love the region, the landscape, the culture and the cheese. Every time I go, I continually see new things being made, I always make new discoveries. Cheese is so important to the region of tuscany. Pecorino toscano is so distinct and unique. The area is so terrorir driven. The land, the soil, the grass, and of course the beautiful sheep are so important to producing great quality pecorino cheese. The dedication from the dairy farmers and cheese makers is some of the most sincere I’ve ever seen over all my travels. Fresh pecorino ricotta is so simple, but an amazing cheese showcasing the fresh, unique flavor of tuscan cheeses.
You are a business owner, a cheesemaker and an influencer and popularizer about gastronomic culture. Tell us something about your journalistic activity.
I have one national best selling cookbook featuring cheese from all over the world, and I have many recipes with tuscan pecorino within the book as well. I would like to eventually write another book. I am also currently working on a cheese focused travel show, stay tuned for more on that. I continually want to be better at what I do. My job is to help raise awareness of great cheese in toronto and the rest of Canada as well. I feel people trust my opinion, which is quite an honor. My job also, is to tell the story of a cheese, to tell the story of a cheesemaker. Dairy farmers and cheese makers work so hard to give us tasty cheesy products. I want to honor them, and make sure they get the credit they very much deserve. I’m almost 40, and I only know a little about cheese, I want to learn more and more, because I absolutely adore cheese.