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Hidden Bistro


Tucked into a row of industrial buildings in Longmont, Cheese Importers has been one of the area’s best kept food secrets. Its unparalleled selection of hundreds of kinds of cheese, hard salami, olives, olive oils, vinegars, jams, crackers, fresh bread and sweets creates a growing group of fans as each new visitor discovers what amounts to an authentic French bistro disguised as a warehouse. The bistro is a relatively recent addition to the gourmet store, which got its start more than 30 years ago out of the home and VW van of its founder, Linda White. Her love of all things French was born decades ago when, as a child in grade school, she spent six weeks studying France.

Today, it’s the passionate manifestation of her life-long dream—one shared by daughter Clara—of bringing the taste of Paris to Longmont. “The bistro is a labor of love and has evolved over the years,” Linda says. “The food and the cheese come from our passion and love of food.”

And while Cheese Importers (and its much-anticipated additional store set to open in Lafayette later this fall) is a little known foodie’s dream, the delicious lunch offerings from the bistro rarely receive adequate notoriety. The real gems are the grilled panini sandwiches that make use of the exotic foods and prodigious selection of cheese found in the store. Try the most popular offering of turkey, mozzarella, tomato and roasted red peppers with a schmear of pesto on a ciabatta roll grilled to crispy perfection.

“Clara developed the sandwiches; they have a lot of Mediterranean influences in terms of the ingredients,” Linda said.

There’s also the Italian; a perfect blend of flavors and textures from the fig jam, proscuitto and tallegio cheese grilled between slices of rustic artisan bread. The result is a thin, crispy sandwich that perfectly blends those classic ingredients. Don’t forget the gourmet comfort food dream: grilled cheese. Remember, Cheese Importers is pretty good at the cheese thing. A surprise delight is the smoked gouda with tomato and onion on the aforementioned rustic artisan bread.

If you’re extra hungry, place your order and take a stroll around the walk-in cheese room where you can sample half a dozen varieties (not to mention fresh olives) and maybe discover a new favorite.

Cheese Importers, 33 South Pratt Parkway, Longmont, 303.772.9599

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