POUND RIDGE, N.Y. -- Gayle Martin and Michael Riahi became owners of Plum Plums in May. They first met when working in the wine business, she on the marketing side and he on the sales side.
The broadened inventory of cheeses they present would make one think you are visiting a fromagerie in the French Alps. Gayle and Michael have at least 60 varieties of cheese, including Swiss Gruyère with its distinctive taste as well as other selections from France, Italy, Spain and several domestic selections. The Von Trapp Farmstead of Vermont is also represented with its organic artisan selections. According to Gayle, “We offer the complete cheese experience.” While some say the price of dairy is on the rise, this is one place to see a well-worth bang for your buck. Whether your palate calls for cow, goat or sheep cheese, Gayle and Michael have something to sell to make you smile and give you a reason to come back for more. A person I spoke with who was walking out of Plum Plums with a bag of purchases acknowledged being a weekend resident. “It’s a cozy neighborhood store that made me attracted to Pound Ridge,” she said. Gayle and Michael’s fan base does not end with local residents. There are customers from surrounding towns including New Canaan and Greenwich who make the trek to Plum Plums on a regular basis. Just as in the wine industry, making good cheese requires an aging process. “Farmers create an individual product that is to their work what a grape is to a winemaker,” Gayle said. “While mozzarella can be made in a matter of minutes, Gouda can take up to five years to reach perfection,” she added. While visiting with Gayle and Michael, I learned other intriguing facts about the cheese making process, including how Gruyère Alpage cheese is produced seasonally when cows graze uphill on fresh grass in the Alps. Just as what one expects to find in a specialty cheese shop, Plum Plums also provides various selections of oils, vinegars, condiments and charcuterie, in addition to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches on the weekends. Gayle and Michael are nothing short of gracious experts when explaining the art of cheese. This is even more evident in their presentation of the many varieties they make available, including sheep, cow, goat and several delectable blends. Each week, they offer at least two specialty cheeses in rotation, including their pick of the week. You can walk into Plum Plums knowing little if anything about specialty cheeses. After a few visits, Gayle and Michael will make you the definitive cheesemonger.
Plum Plums is located at 72 Westchester Avenue, Pound Ridge, NY 10576, (914) 764-1525. Store hours are Wednesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The store is closed Monday and Tuesday. For more information, visit the Plum Plums website .
Laurance Baschkin is a Pound Ridge resident.