Born in 2012—when former social worker Tammy Miller visited the Great Canadian Cheese Festival—Country Cheese Company is the first specialty cheese shop in Ontario’s Durham region. Imported and locally made, the store’s 100-plus cheeses include at least two dozen exclusive to Country Cheese, flavored and aged in-house by affineur Perry Manti. 90 percent of the store’s other products, such as chocolate, crackers, and salami, hail from area businesses—an important distinction for both Miller and her customers.
“(These days) people are more mindful about what they’re eating, where their food comes from, and at what cost,” Miller says. “People want to support small producers that leave the smallest impact.”
Small producers, like Country Cheese, are also able to connect closely with customers. Miller notes that her staff knows more than half of their clients by name and have seen the families of returning patrons grow up. “We really want the store to be a place where people don’t feel intimidated,” Miller says. “Whether you’re an expert in cheese or a complete layman, there’s something in store for you.”
culture: Which local dairies do you recommend?
Tammy Miller: Glengarry Fine Cheese in Lancaster, Ontario, makes my favorite cheese—it’s the cheese that kind of romanced me into getting into the (cheese) business: Figaro.
culture: What cheese, meat, and accompaniment would you bring to a deserted island?
Tammy Miller: An aged Gouda, probably Mountainoak 2-Year-Old or Lindenhoff, a three-year-old, raw-milk wedge from Holland. A big red wine and saucisson sec from Seed to Sausage produced here in the Kingston area.
culture: What’s your store motto?
Tammy Miller: Cheese should be about pleasure, so we don’t stick to hard-and-fast rules. We want to make sure the customer is having a pleasurable experience and enjoying their cheese…so if you don’t like the rind, cut it off!
289 Kingston Rd. E., Unit 3
Mon–Fri: 10 am–7 pm.
Sat: 10 am–6 pm.
Sun: 10 am–5 pm.