When he was growing up, Sam Rollins’ parents were in the restaurant business, so he spent much of his childhood washing dishes and helping in the kitchen. It wasn’t until Rollins started working at Provisions Market Hall in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, however, that he truly fell in love with food. Now the cheesemonger and specialty foods manager there, Rollins is passionate about cheese customs and history. “You can never know everything,” he says. “That’s one of the things I like about cheese.” The shop is the retail arm of the local Marché Restaurant Group—founded by Stephanie Pearl Kimmel—and stocks products from near and far.
Depending on the season, Rollins offers 60 to 80 artisan wheels and wedges in his case. “We try to seek out things that are made on a small scale and by producers who have a story,” he says. Every few weeks Rollins teaches classes, where students can sample 8 to 10 cheeses paired with wine. In addition, Provisions Market Hall offers cooking courses and camps, events, and demos.
culture: If you could only eat one cheese for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sam Rollins: Comté. You can do anything with it, and it’s consistently really delicious. It’s just one of those flavors that spoke to me when I was first getting into cheese.
culture: What’s your favorite wine and cheese pairing?
SR: As the weather gets nicer, a lightly chilled Lambrusco is amazing with something from northern Italy—Taleggio, caciotta di bufala, or Raschera with a little salami or maybe some prosciutto di Parma.
culture: If you had to make a meal using items from the shop, what would you include?
SR: We have great pastas from Italy, and we have fresh produce that we buy directly from local farmers. Pasta with cheese and fresh vegetables is kind of my go-to.
culture: What’s your favorite cheesy memory?
SR: There’s this little fresh goat pyramid from Rivers Edge Chèvre [called Humbug Mountain]. I had it in the very back of the cheese case, so I forgot about it for a little while. I found it, squeezed it, and thought, this might still be okay. I went into the kitchen with our chef, our pastry chef, and a couple of other people, and we cut it in half. The inside just pooled out and filled the plate. We all tore off pieces of fresh bread and dipped them in the really, really, really, really ripe cheese. It was a revelatory experience for all of us.
296 E. Fifth Ave.
Daily 7 a.m.–8 p.m