Hooked on Cheese: Cheese in Chicago

La Tur cheese from Eataly Chicago brings smiles to the Double Tavern

I’ve been lucky to spend the majority of 2019 in Chicago, undisputedly one of this country’s finest food cities. By this point I know my way around and I’ve had the pleasure of eating at some of the city’s best restaurants. So one evening in early February – right after the worst of the horrible weather – I decided that I wanted to give back to Chiberia in some small way. As the Cheese Guy, I know the best way I can give back is through cheese.

I left my office in the Logan Square neighborhood after work and started to walk home. I was wandering down the street when I came upon a cozy tavern called The Double. The bartender was a super nice guy named Henry Sykes; it turns out he’s also one of the owners. We started chatting it up, and when I told him I was in the cheese business, he exclaimed, “I love cheese!”

Now earlier that day I’d been doing a bit of business at Eataly, where I picked up a few choice items to share with my fellow Chicagoans. One of the treats I’d grabbed was a small Italian cheese called La Tur, a dense, rich Robiola-style gem made from a mixture of cow, goat and sheep milk. I brought it out and spread a generous portion atop a wedge of Eataly’s crusty signature pane rustico loaf and gave Henry a taste. He loved it (of course); La Tur’s creamy, gooey texture makes it a perennial crowd favorite.

We started to share with a few nearby bar patrons, then Henry’s friend Jennifer came over to see what all the fuss was about. She’s a public school social worker and she enlightened me about the unusual challenges of her job as we finished off the cheese.

After a few more minutes of camaraderie, I started to pack up. Five nice folks from my new neighborhood bar came over to say goodbye and invite me back again; Jennifer even gave me a hug. If I hadn’t brought in that bit of great cheese, I would have just been a new guy in a bar; sharing the cheese opened everyone up to great conversation and I even made some new friends.

Cheese has been very, very good to me.


Follow Raymond's food escapades on FacebookInstagram and his website. Additional reporting by Madeleine James.