We're all guilty of it. We all lead extremely busy lives and a lot of the time resort to convenience. Yes, I have purchased cheese at King Soopers. I've even bought the pre-sliced prosciutto on occasion. Is the quality there? Well, it's not the worse thing in the world, but I would much rather spend a little extra money and get something that truly impresses my taste buds, as well as those of my friends and family. With that in mind, there are a few choice places that I make a point to stop at when I can afford to spend a little extra. My favorite local purveyor of epicurean treasures is the Truffle.

 

 

This yellow awning adorned gem can easily be missed, even if you take 6th avenue on a daily basis. It's nestled in between a few other shops, so you have to be keeping a close eye out. You'll be happy you did though, once you witness the amazing foodie delights that await your eyes, nose, and palate. They have the things you can never find. Fois Gras? Yep. White and black truffles? Regularly. Duck fat for frying? They have that too. Oh, and we should probably mention the insane amounts of wonderful meats and cheeses that span the entire globe in origin.

The Truffle has been a favorite of my family for quite a few years. Every Christmas Eve we load up on one of their playfully decorated plates of salumi and cheese to snack on both before and after our Feast of the Seven Fishes. For dinner parties I often surprise my guest with the rarities that line their refrigerator shelves. For that reason, I felt like I wanted to know more about both the shop itself, and the people behind this stinky passion. So I grabbed my photographer (Shanna Nicole) and headed down for some pics and a few choice questions. 

 

IE: Thank you so much for taking some time to answer a few questions for us today. We absolutely love the Truffle! Why don’t you start by telling us how you decided to open up one of Denver’s best specialty shops?
 
The Truffle: My husband, Rob, and I purchased The Truffle Cheese Shop in January of 2007.  We both worked in restaurants for most of our lives.  Rob is an incredible cook and I worked mostly behind bars and in the front of the house.  We really wanted to own a business that kept that connection to food and restaurants because it's what we know and love.  We became one of Denver's best shops because we love and appreciate our customers. 
 
IE: What are some of the challenges with importing so many products from France, Italy, Spain, etc? 
 
The Truffle: Honestly, we don't import anything.  Importing food, like importing wine, is a very complicated process.  All of the importers are on the coast.  When we purchase cheeses from our importers and distributors, we work on a complicated order system that is 8 weeks out.  So, when we order a case of, say, Epoisses or Fleur du Maquis, that case comes across the pond special for us!  It's kind of boring to talk about but really fun to do!
 
IE: Just so everyone knows, you’re so much more than just a cheese shop. You carry black and white truffles, pastas, fois gras, and more. What are some other products that people might not know about, but probably should?
 
The Truffle: We are so proud of our fresh, farm eggs, the bread and croissants from Trompeau bakery and our selection of French butter.  But, so many people don't know about our cheese of the month club, the many trips we take throughout the year, as well as all of our classes, private and otherwise.  The events we hold are great because they give our customers a chance to really get to know our cheeses and cheese makers.
 
IE: Let’s change the pace a little bit here. What three things are always in your fridge at home?
 
The Truffle: Raw Cow's Milk from Ugly Goat Milk Company – with our two boys, we go through 4 gallons a week!
 
Amora Mustard – really just French grocery store mustard, but truly a superior product.
 
Duck Fat – it makes the crispiest potatoes!
 
IE: If you could only choose one cheese to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
 
The Truffle: As a practical matter, we would have to choose Parmigiano Reggiano.  It's so nutrient dense and has such fulfilling mouth feel as well as being super versatile.  As a more selfish act, we would probably choose Taleggio.  Again, very versatile as far as cooking goes, but Taleggio can also be very smelly, which might just ward off the zombies down the road.  
 
IE: If you could pick a country, region or city somewhere in the world to open up a second location, where would it be?
 
The Truffle: We would love to have a cheese stall in La Boqueria right next to Bar Pinotxo in Barcelona.  Spain is definitely a place where we would like to spend more time- like forever!
 
IE: What are some of your favorite restaurants to eat at here in Denver?
 
The Truffle: That's like choosing your favorite sibling!  All of the great restaurants in Denver are our customers, so we have a large selection of places to go when we do go out, which is not frequently enough.  With two young boys, we cook at home quite a bit.  If I could choose my own chefs, however, I would have Milan Doshi from the Queen Anne Bed and Breakfast, Dana Rodriguez from Bistro Vendome and Jimmy Warren from Fruition Farm be my personal chefs at home for each meal.
 
IE: Do you have a favorite chef or restaurateur locally? What about nationally or internationally?
 
The Truffle: See above answer.  Nationally, we love to hit all of the ethnic restaurants in San Francisco because they are so authentic and so incredibly tasty.  We have been traveling to France twice a year with groups from the cheese shop and always our first stop when we hit the streets of Paris is a good bakery for a Jamon sandwich, a larger than life macaron and a good coffee.  
 
IE: Do you have any advice for the timid cheese eater? Anything that might help them open up there mind to trying something new?
 
The Truffle: Trust us!  Just because the shop is a little smelly doesn't mean the cheese tastes bad!  All of the cheesemongers in the shop are total nerds about cheese and food.   We are used to only the best ingredients from around the world and locally.  When a new person comes into the shop, it's our job to help them choose cheeses that make them happy.  We know that it's overwhelming walking into the shop and seeing over 100 cheeses in the case.  We break it down and walk every customer through the cheeses and help them make the best choice for their occasion.  Life is way to short to eat bad cheese.
 
IE: Thank you so much for your time. We look forward to many more years of your amazing shop.
 
The Truffle: Thank YOU, Clayton!  We are so honored to be featured in Indie Eats.  Keep up the great work! – Karin and Rob Lawler
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ever had a slice of local pizza-chain, Anthony’s Pizza? Ever stopped by Lechuga’s to pick up some Little Devils? What about a historic dinner at the old mob hangout Gaetano’s? Well if you have, you’ve tasted a little bit of Denver’s history.

I pride myself on eating, and shopping local. And there’s one unsung hero, that I feel should be recognized for decades of providing Denver with tasty products – Clyde’s Sausage. Clyde’s opened its doors in 1964. They make sausage, meatballs, burger patties, and more for some of Denver’s most classic, and recognizable eateries. While Clyde’s isn’t a name that’s as recognizable as Polidori’s or Boulder Sausage, it in every right should be.

Clydes is one of the few sausage producers that still uses bone-in, never frozen pork butts and shoulders. Why is this important? Flavor, for one. Leaving the bone in keeps that source of flavor there till the very end. It’s also important because it’s tradition. It’s the tradition of doing things right.  Instead of having everything mechanized, and done for you, they do it themselves. Is it more expensive? Sure. Do they take a cut out of their profits? Absolutely. But they still do it right.

From the Chorizo, to the Italian Sausage, everything is created, and shipped out after just 2 hours. That’s right. These aren’t created and stored for days, they are made, then taken directly to the restaurants. So what’s the end result here? The best sausage, meatballs, and burger patties in town.

While Clyde’s isn’t open to the public, they still have a piece of Denver’s heart – taking daily deliveries of tasty meat up and down 38th, and all across the metro area. Non-commercial orders aren’t encouraged, but don’t worry, you can enjoy this tasty fare at a number of restaurants in the metro area. Here’s just a few to get you started.

Lechuga’s  – try a Little Devil – spicy and delicious.

Patsy’s – Denver’s oldest Italian Restaurant. Founded in 1921.

Gaetano’s  - every feared an 80 year old man? You’ve never met a Smalldone. Classic Denver history here.

3 Sons – So beautiful at Christmas, even if they did leave the better location.

Dino’s - Little Lakewood Gem on Colfax.

Anthony’s Pizza – A Colorado chain you can be proud of. Good NY style pie.

Mama Sannino’s – Great spot for Italian-American in Arvada.

Vinnola’s -Try a meatball sandwich or calzone, they’re so good. They also have great products and baked goods.

So in a world of over-processed, less-than-desirable quality of food, it’s important to recognize the people who do it well. And going to one of these restaurants is actually supporting two local businesses – the restaurant, and Clydes. So print out this page, and use it as your Guido’s Guide to Italian-American in Denver. And, yes, I’m Italian, so I can say Guido without any reprimand. You on the other hand, can call it the Guide to Eating Well-Made Traditional Italian-American Awesomeness.  Yeah. Unless your Italian of course, then you can revert back to the initial name I gave it.

Mangiamo!