The nights were drawing in quick. The North wind was beginning to bite and the leaves were beginning to rust on the trees. I noticed that it seemed darker in the shop than usual…I still hadn’t got those damn lights fixed. The ceramic moon like shades were slowly filling with water each time it rained, and we were just waiting for goldfish to start swimming their way down the light fixtures creating some sort of Toulouse Lautrec inspired shop decoration.
5pm on the dot.
My favourite regular appeared with her furry little friend, whom I had secretly renamed “Mimolette”, and walked through the shop and into the Cheese Lounge. She took a seat in her usual spot beside the bookshelf on the red leather church pew and selected her evening read. We kept a selection of recipe books and inspiring food literature in The Lounge and she always read one whilst enjoying a quiet glass of wine and sometimes a dainty plate of cheese. Often, she would point out a recipe that she thought we should try out or perhaps suggest a new cheese that we should consider stocking.
“Good evening Mrs Adams, can I get you something to drink?”. She pretended to peruse the daily wine list while enquiring about each new wine. She finally settled on a small glass of Pinot Noir. But of course, I already knew this, she never ordered anything else. Pinot was her favourite.
As I lit the candles, she pointed to a dish on the menu that I’d hoped she might ask for. I headed to the kitchen to start preparing her dinner. I always made a little extra for her as I knew she liked to share a few sneaky slices with her dog under the table when she thought no one was looking.
The shop was filling up with people by this point but my regular was waiting. I quickly sliced the charcuterie and cheese, popped the potatoes into the oven- trying very hard not to graze on the offcuts. Raclette was my kryptonite. I turned to serve the waiting line of customers and wondered, as I often did, if there was some sort of cheese signal that went out into the world making everyone in the area want to buy cheese all at the same time.
Before long, my faithful little oven was singing merrily to announce that the potatoes were ready. I added a few slices of raclette and the decadent smell of Savoie cheese wafted through the shop and out into the street.
Out of the oven and onto a plate, finished off with a bundle of savoury cornichons. I made my way through to the Lounge and was greeted by Mimolettes famous “give me charcuterie” eyes, which I simply couldn’t resist. I placed the dish in front of her, “Raclette, Potatoes and Finocchiona Mrs Adams”. “Thank you dear” she said smiling as she took another sip of Pinot.
I knew she was happy.