On a late afternoon at Wedge & Bottle Cheese Shop, owners Troy and Krista Daily are serving up samples of a traditional Cyprus cheese called Halloumi. Recommended by a regular, this cheese looks like a breadstick and tastes like a salt lick...in a very good way. The cheeses here run the gamut of flavors: spicy, savory, sweet, salty, and sharp. There's something to please every RSVP on your list -- including "that one friend."
Open in Ahwatukee since May, Wedge & Bottle is founded on a "Casual Friday" approach to cheese. The weekly cheese and specialty meat plates ($12) are crafted by Troy and Krista based on research and training, but customers are encouraged to try pairings that suit their own tastes. Cheese plates come with Rustic Bakery crackers and a selection of weekly sides, including honey, lemon curd, almonds, olives, and chocolate.
Go beyond the wedge to the bottle after the jump.
Party trays are available with 24 hours notice, beginning at $25 for a small (3-4 person) Mixed Charcuterie and up to $75 for a large (10-12 person) American Road Trip.
Customers can also create custom cheese plates or party trays, selecting from the many cut-to-order domestic and international cheeses (like the popular Cabbot Clothbound Cheddar, out of Vermont, or the stereotypically stinky Swiss Appenzellar).
Cheese may be the centerpiece at Wedge & Bottle, but it's surrounded by a variety of both local and imported products. There are chutneys and jams and tapenades, chocolates and spiced nuts, raw Arizona honeys, and chocolate and pistachio spreads straight from France.
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On the wine side of the store, Arizona wines like Pillsbury and Page Springs are clear fan favorites. The surprise, for Troy and Krista, is how popular red wines have been even in 110-degree weather (like bathing suits in winter, or felts in summer). "Arizona likes big reds all year long," says Troy. For those stopping by to sip and snack or grab a sandwich for lunch, Wedge & Bottle offers wines by the glass.
Beer is also served off the shelf or cold in the shop, like Michigan-based Bell's Oberon American Wheat Beer ($5.00). For a special treat, get to Wedge & Bottle soon to grab one of the last bottles of the 1809 Berliner Weiss, a wheat beer out of Germany that can trace its roots to the 16th century. Paired with a Just Grilled Cheese sandwich, it's one cheesy meal even Courtney Love couldn't turn down.
Wedge & Bottle is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Monday. Wi-Fi is available. Upcoming wine tastings ($5 to taste four wines) are from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, and Friday, Sept. 16.