When you walk into Scardello, expect to be transported to a whole different world! The European atmosphere and friendly demeanor will make you forget that this shop is located right outside the hustle-and-bustle of the Oak Lawn neighborhood.
What made the visit even more intimate was that fact we were invited to attend their "Friends & Family" preview launch celebration for their new catering services. I definitely felt I was part of the family when everyone greeted me with warm smiles and opened up their cozy shop as I gazed with awe seeing all the variety of cheeses, wines, and fruits that I was about to devour.
Tasting, sampling, sipping, (and tasting a couple of more times), I felt like the “Cheese Enthusiast” I always wanted to be. I started strong and tackled the charcuterie board covered with an assortment of bruschetta, fresh grapes, olives, and mountains of cheese. Everyone mingled and munched over the spread for a good while, a key component for great catering services if you ask me.
I was finally able to pull myself away to the next table where samples of Wild Board pulled pork, Scardello's mac and cheese, and warm empanadas were displayed. What won me over, however, were the Mini Buttermilk Biscuits with Pimento and Prosciutto. The biscuit crumbled nicely with every bite and the Pimento added that slice of heaven feeling that made me go back for seconds ... and thirds.
One of the kind waiters noticed I didn't have a drink in my hand and recommended I try the Pinot Noir wine, Underwoood. It was definitely refreshing and paired wonderfully with all the handcrafted cheeses and tasty food bites I just consumed.
Drink in hand and sipping gracefully, it was at that time I was able to stop and fully embrace the atmospheric nature that Scardello created. The string lights, the soft music, the warm faces, and neighborly banter. I couldn't help but smile and think that this is what catering is all about; to provide wholesome foods and drinks for people to enjoy, internally through the belly and externally through the body.
Rich Rogers, founder, and fellow cheesemonger said that "adding catering services was a natural extension of our popular cheese classes and the easy entertaining options we have always offered “Our catering menu focuses on the delicious cheese and other high-quality artisanal products we carry in the shop. Scardello’s experienced, dedicated team will work with clients to create a fun food experience, whether it is a business lunch or an elegant wedding party.”
Thinking that I had enough and it was time for me to call it a night, I strolled towards the door until a light sizzling noise and a whiff of melted cheese stopped me in my tracks.
"Would you like to try our gourmet grilled cheese?" a man asked.
That's when my eyes caught the Grilled Cheese Bar sign and I was baffled that I'd almost walked out without seeing it.
The process was quite simple: Step 1 - Choose your base: cheddar, swiss, or taleggio cheese. Step 2 - Add your favorites: tomatoes, green onions, onion jam, goat horns, cornichons, etc. Of course, I made it difficult and couldn't decide, but he was kind enough to surprise me with a delicious mix and I was happy with his creation as I enjoyed the warm melted cheese filled with grilled veggies.
Soon everyone started to line up for their own gourmet sandwich and I'm happy to report that the Grilled Cheese Bar was a great success!
The bar is part of the catering service, as is a chocolate fondue bar – yum.
Scardello is a cut-to-order cheese shop focused on handcrafted cheeses and tasty accompaniments. They have about 150 handmade American, Texas, and European cheeses. Their motto: Walk in, select your cheese and wine, and dine with some friends or book a class to learn specific regions or seasons, classes that focus on milk types, or classes that teach accompaniments that pair with cheese.
Check out scardellocheese.com for more information.