Although the Wine and Cheese Place has a broader selection, the Wine Merchant has a more intriguing assortment of handmade cheeses. Owner John Nash carries such frivolities as mutton buttons and drunken-goat cheese (a Spanish cheese imbrued with red wine). He also has a larder of domestic farmstead cheeses such as Cypress Grove's Humboldt Fog, a goat's-milk cheese striped with a thin edible layer of ash, and Sally Jackson's raw-sheep's-milk cheese, fetchingly enveloped in moist chestnut leaves.
Artisan-made cheeses are best appreciated when eaten out of hand rather than cooked or shaved onto salads and pastas. Although Scherrer is tempted by the lovely cheeses next door, he doesn't partake of them. "I'm lactose-intolerant," he confesses, chuckling ruefully. But the wine? Well, that's a different story.
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