When Boulder was named America's foodiest town by Bon Appetit last year, it won the honor despite the fact that Boulder has no specialty cheese shop.
For the last few years, anyone looking for a unique cheese in this town would generally look for it at Whole Foods. And while I respect that grocer -- and even worked in the cheese department at the store at 2905 Pearl Street in Boulder for a few months -- there was definitely room for a store devoted to cheese. Now Will Frischkorn and Coral Ferguson, a husband-and-wife duo, are giving Boulder that store with Cured, a cheese shop slated to open April 30 in the space at 1825 Pearl Street currently occupied by Feather Thy Nest.
The name sums up their mission. "Cured is artisanal American cheeses, cured meat and the accoutrements they go with," Frischkorn explains. "Five nights a week, for dinner, Coral and I make up a big salad, toss some cheese and cured meat on a board, make a loaf of bread and grab a good bottle of wine from the cellar. Our concept for Cured is that one can come in and pick up everything for that dinner."
But the main emphasis will be on American artisanal cheeses -- American, he says, "because especially in the last five years, there's been an incredible upswing in American cheeses, where they're taking European ideas but applying an American fresh take and creativity."
Everything else will branch out from there, he stresses, a sort of cheese heart in a fine-food body. They want to build a small cheese cave where they can experiment with -- and even age -- some of their cheeses. They're working on getting a liquor-license, too, that's "built around wine that we love but that's in a very reasonable price range," says Frischkorn. "Ten to twelve beers, a few spirits, and a lot of wines in the ten- to eleven-dollar range."
And Cured will share space with Boxcar Roasters, a local coffee roasting company that will feature a cupping bar, allowing you to sip and learn as you watch the beans get roasted on site.
The duo will also bake bread, make sandwiches and partner with local farms to bring in produce to complete the cheese adventure. An adventure that you won't find at Whole Foods, Frischkorn says, elaborating on the differences between the two stores. "One is the personal relationship that we provide, whereas Whole Foods is getting bigger and bigger," he notes.
"They're awesome because they have this great broad spectrum, but with that, they lose dexterity and they also lose the connection," he continues. "A lot of the small farms and producers we are working with either couldn't or didn't want to work with a large company. But we can be a little more flexible by changing items every few weeks."
And how did they come up with the idea for Cured?
"I used to race bicycles professionally, the last six years with the Garmin team based in Girona, Spain," Frischkorn says. "For a number of years, I split my time between there and Boulder, but Coral and I decided to take the plunge, rent our house here and move full time across the pond." While there, they'd take weekend trips to Vienna and the Austrian wine country, "immerse ourselves in the craziness of Istanbul, wander the old city in Marrakesh and, of course, partake in some awesome food-centric adventures across France, Italy, and our home area of Catalonia in Spain," he adds.
"Right after I retired, we spent two weeks with bikes in the car, eating, drinking and riding our way across northern Italy, Slovenia, and back through southern France on the way home," Frischkorn recalls. "Catalonia is itself a region with an incredible food culture, and the experiences there certainly shaped some of the Cured concept, and living in a walking town with our small markets, we become accustomed to shopping and relating to food in that way, a daily experience rather than the big grocery stock up."
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While planning their store, the two traveled across this country, meeting with cheesemakers, farmers and the like in order to cultivate relationships. "We want Cured to be the kind of place where we actually have a personal relationship with the person -- where we remember what cheese they had last time," Ferguson says. "And just let it be fun and accessible."
For people proud to wear the title of "Foodiest Town" on their organic cotton T-shirts, Cured could be just what the doctor ordered.