"Oh, you need to go to Canterbury Cheesemongers," they said. "We'll take you there." It sounded like they'd been looking for an excuse.
44 Salisbury St. (Asko Corner)
South Island, New Zealand
hours: Tu-F 1000-1800
(Sa-Su: at the Arts Centre Market in their little yellow van)
Canterbury Cheesemongers is, first and foremost, a cheese shop. Martin, the owner, will however be glad to put together sandwiches (NZ$5, $3.50) or cheese plates (NZ$8, $5.60). The latter come with chutney and sweet gherkins to cleanse the palate. You can choose from his variety of mostly New Zealand cheeses which he cures himself. His standards are very strict. If a batch doesn't meet them, it gets tossed. (One imagines some of these factory seconds must be pretty good.) On this visit I choose two blue cheeses, one soft, one hard, a soft goat cheese, and a brie. All were excellent. Next time I may ask Martin to suggest a nice variety, but this time I was rather focused on blues and soft cheeses. Mmmmm.
Bottled apple juices of various varieties are available (NZ$3, $2.10), as well as coffee and other drinks. There are a couple of tables if you're dining in. It's likely Martin will invite you into the cooling room (through a sliding glass door from the sales and seating area) to try some of the cheeses before you make a decision.