Friday, March 30, 2012

Thomasville Treats

Maybe it was the image of a fresh strawberry meringue cake on the cover that caught my eye. I began to flip through the April 2012 issue of Southern Living magazine and found an article about a specialty cheese shop not an hour’s drive away.

The Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop on Broad Street in Thomasville, GA is owned by a local couple who sell cheese made at their nearby farm. Among the favorites are a Camembert-style cheese, a semi-soft gouda and a savory blue named after one of their sons.

Yet there’s more than cheese in the shop. Just inside the door visitors are treated to a sampler table holding a bowl of golden olive oil and plate of crusty bread squares for dipping.

Along the walls are rows of jams, jellies, fine wines, crackers, spreads and cellophane bags of pecans.

Toward the back is a refrigerated display case where you’ll find a tempting variety of cheeses—some local and some imported along with different flavored salamis. You can ask for a taste.

We came to buy cheese but stayed for a lunch—a toasted sandwich with two kinds of salami, mustard, and smoky mayo on gluten-free ciabatta.

Dubbed the “Barcelona”, it is one of 5 delicious sandwiches on the lunch menu that is served with a choice of Zapps chips or mixed Geek olives. There is a selection of beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages to complement the meal.

But the real star is the charcuterie plate of 3 cheeses paired with jam or fresh pecans drizzled with wildflower honey. The garlic and chive moo paired with Emily G’s Blackberry Vanilla Jam of Love (center) tastes like cheesecake on a cracker. I finished the entire scoop and bought more to take home.

Tucked away in the back corner is a tiny restroom. It’s walls are covered with awards in various categories of artisanal cheeses from The American Cheese Society. It’s no wonder they ship these handcrafted cheeses to chefs and retailers all over Georgia and Florida.

You can visit the store weekdays from 10 am until 8 pm and 7 pm on Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday), or visit their website at to order on line.