A Whirlwind Tour of EuropeToday, we’re heading for Europe with its rich, complex food heritage. Charelli’s Cheese Shop and Delicatessen is a tiny storefront in the midst of a residential neighbourhood, but it is jam-packed with good food.
There are 250-350 varieties of cheese, and the cocoa and hot chocolate mixes alone come from at least five different countries – Holland, England, Belgium, Mexico and France. There are olives in bulk, olives in vacuum-sealed bags and olives in jars. There are crackers and cookies, chutney and jam, pasta and oil and vinegar.
“It can’t work overnight,” says Carmen. “It took a good three years to build a reputation and for people to trust us.” Now their customers come from all over – Calgary, up island, all over the city. Carmen says that people who are in a hurry should shop at Thrifty’s. “We want to take time and get to know the people who walk through our door,” she says.
When I said I wanted to buy some cheese, Carmen gave me 8 different samples to try. They were all wonderful, but I managed to restrain myself and only buy three different kinds (from Holland, France and Australia) – along with locally-made jam from North Saanich, black truffle oil from France via California, and chocolate from Belgium.
Be sure to visit Charelli’s at 2851 Foul Bay Road if you are in Victoria. It’s a treasure trove of culinary delights with friendly, welcoming staff.
Thank you, Carmen, for taking the time to talk to me. And thank you for the completely unexpected discount on my bagful of goodies.