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Twelve days of Cheesemas! 

If given the choice, I will always choose savory over sweet. For this reason, I've been way more into Thanksgiving or Hanukkah food (bacon-fat smothered Brussels sprouts, fried latkas with sour cream, buttery herb-rubbed turkey swimming in gravy, spreads of salty salami and duck pate, etc.) than Christmas food, which always falls a little flat to me. We get it already. Chocolate and peppermint do go pretty well together, and gingerbread houses are cute, if not totally gross (ever try to digest gum drops en masse?). Ham is cool too, I guess, but ... it's also too often served with a sweet glaze! Boo! No wonder Santa looks like he could star in a PSA for type 2 diabetes. You can bet I was cheered to hear that SLO's local downtown cheese shop Fromagerie Sophie shares my own savory bias. They suggest leaving the truffles (well, the chocolate ones, not mushrooms) behind this year for something a little more moldy. The shop has your "12 Days of Cheesemas" covered with a unique, worldly selection of artisanal cheeses good for gifting or spreading across your own holiday charcuterie platter. They've even rounded up a dozen specific cheeses for you to try this season. Day 12, Gorwydd Caerphilly is a semi-hard, unpasteurized cow's cheese from England with an earthy rind, creamy, succulent center and mild and buttery texture with hints of lemon (pair with Alsatian gewürztraminer, chardonnay, pinot, or a citrusy IPA). Want to know get to know the whole dozen? Head to the little cheese shop that could and marvel at what's been missing from every holiday office party you've ever been to. Hint: No one will be sad about getting fine cheese in their stocking. Or an imported tin of duck fat. Duck fat is like the Tickle Me Elmo of the culinary world.

Learn more at; Fromagerie Sophie is located at 1129 Garden St. in downtown SLO. Δ

Hayley Thomas Cain wishes you a Happy Cheesemas at

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