Stock Up: 3 cheeses to check out at Capella Cheese

(This is a group shot of the three cheeses Raymond Hook recommended.) Left to right: Blu di Lanza, Sola di Bufala, Pecorino Maremmano 
(Courtesy of Capella Cheese)

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Three of the cheeses at Capella (from left): blu di lanza, sola di bufala, pecorino Maremmano. Courtesy of Capella Cheese

Cheesemonger Raymond Hook long has had a vision for the cheese shop Atlanta needed, and now he has opened Capella Cheese in Armour Yards.

The counter in the split-level shop features some of the more than 300 cheeses Capella has available at any one time, all ready to be cut to order. Hook can tell you the story of each cheese and its maker, while you try a sample.

Refrigerated cases are filled with grab-and-go options, such as duck rillettes and pate, house-made mozzarella and burrata, and freshly made sandwiches, including one with finocchiona salami, Sweetgrass Dairy’s Thomasville tomme, arugula and quince membrillo.

The staff will slice charcuterie to order, including jamon de bellota, a ham from Iberico hogs. And, the store’s shelves hold plenty of things to accompany your cheese, including honey, fruit pastes and sourdough loaves from the Poilane bakery in Paris.

During August, the shop is highlighting the great cheeses Hook found when he went to Italy earlier this year, with a different variety featured almost every day. Some of the special cheeses include a Parmigiano-Reggiano DOP Riserva from 2011, and a provolone mandarone that weighs 80 pounds. Each is available for sampling.

Hook recommended three of his favorites.

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Raymond Hook and Samantha Naik are partners in Capella Cheese. Courtesy of Judy Lampert

Credit: Judy Lampert

Raymond Hook and Samantha Naik are partners in Capella Cheese. Courtesy of Judy Lampert

Credit: Judy Lampert

Combined ShapeCaption
Raymond Hook and Samantha Naik are partners in Capella Cheese. Courtesy of Judy Lampert

Credit: Judy Lampert

Credit: Judy Lampert

Pecorino Maremmano

This raw sheep’s milk cheese is made in the Maremma region of Tuscany. When you think of pecorino, you might think of a cheese that’s sometimes used as a substitute for Parmesan, but this is a moist, pressed cheese with sweet flavor, somewhat granular texture and a natural rind developed over the 90 days of aging. Hook said it’s up to you whether you eat the rind, but he prefers not to do so.

$23.99 per pound.

Blu di lanza

This is an intense, raw-cow’s-milk blue cheese from the Piedmont region of Italy, aged over 120 days. We thought we detected notes of walnut, and thought this was a cheese perfect for a dessert plate with dried fruits and nuts, or spread over thin toasted slices of Poilane’s sourdough bread. The rind of blue cheeses traditionally is not eaten.

$25.99 per pound.

Sola di bufala

This lovely cheese is made with pasteurized water buffalo milk in Italy’s Lombardia region, and aged about 60 days. Hook said most people are familiar only with water buffalo mozzarella, and he’s glad to broaden their horizons. This is a soft, delicate cheese that we could not resist nibbling. The bloomy rind is completely edible.

$39.99 per pound.

All three are available at Capella Cheese, 255 Ottley Drive, Atlanta. 404-882-3974, capellacheese.com

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