Pictured left, organic pecorino from the renowned Fratelli Sanna cheesemakers in Siena, Italy.
We were sad to see our good friend Jason pack up and leave Boston, but visiting Caseus, his new cheese shop and bistro in CT, makes us glad we let him go. I stopped by the New Haven store on a recent road trip, just in time for a late lunch of mixed greens and an onion tart on buttery pâte brisée. The man beside me was digging into steak frites with house mayo, and most of the menu takes advantage of the imported cheeses sold downstairs. There’s poutine, grilled cheese lined with jamon de Paris, raclette with roasted baby Yukons and a savory soufflé. Or skip the dairy altogether with a brazen frisée salad of bacon, hazelnuts and a poached egg.
Walking around the exposed brick espresso bar and the shop of imported oils, salumi, jams, salts, chocolates and cheese, you get a sense of the guy that actually dreamed it up and then built it with his own hands. We’ve known Jason as a cheesemonger, a baker, a BBQ master, an academic student of gastronomy and generally a hilarious individual who can charm the socks off your grandmother. We know - Mommom still asks about him. On my visit, Jason was running around Caseus, offering tours of the cheese cave, asking for feedback on the charcuterie board, foaming milk for a latte and greeting every single person who walked through the door. He is hands-on. And so are his cookbooks and food library, stacked around the store for anyone to browse. On the walls, you get more of his story and interests: a black & white of Jason’s family in their old New Haven deli, a copy of The Cheese Nun DVD on display above the bistro like a relic, and framed farm shots to remind patrons of the places where honest food like this comes from.
If you’re looking for more from Caseus, you got it. They’re all about “educating the palate,” as their website says. Classes like “Beer Loves Cheese” or “Cheese and Poetry” or “Spanish One Tapas” are always on tap. Check out Caseus.com for upcoming events.