There has been plenty of anticipation about the opening of The Cultured & The Cured, the new and cleverly named cheese and charcuterie shop in east Sacramento. Surely, we’re not the only ones who, in recent weeks, saw the commotion inside the J Street storefront and pressed our faces up against the window for a good look.
The business opened to the public Nov. 5, and the response has been enthusiastic. I stopped by on one of the first days and immediately realized that while this may be a new business, those minding the store are anything but rookies.
C&C is owned by Andrew Hillman and his wife, Kelly. Andrew Hillman said the couple did plenty of research about potential neighborhood locations and settled on east Sacramento based on the nearby demographic – plenty of well-heeled folks willing and eager to splurge on fine cheeses, charcuterie, crackers and more. The couple attended a class at the Cheese School of San Francisco on how to open and run a cheese shop.
Andrew Hillman is a chef with plenty of experience locally, including the former David Berkley Fine Wines & Specialty Foods.
The products are attractively displayed and are available for takeout, or you can order food and drinks at the shop and enjoy them at one of the few available tables. The cheeses and charcuterie are sourced mostly from California purveyors.
The extensive renovation of the building, which last saw use as an electric bike shop, is impressive, with stained concrete floors, a refrigerated display case and various stylish details that give the room warmth and charm.
I ordered a duck liver pâté and a silky smooth duck liver mousse that had been marinated in port wine, both produced by Fabrique Delices, an artisan charcuterie business based in the East Bay.
When I asked about crackers to go with these delicacies, I was directed to an assortment of the excellent Potter’s Crackers, which are made with organic ingredients here in Sacramento.
Hillman says he is doing his product-sourcing as locally as possible, with 90 percent of the cheeses made in California, along with a variety of jams, jellies, mustards and various other cheese-related items.
Their approach is that of an old-fashioned cheese-monger. While the choices may seem overwhelming, they welcome sampling to help you in your decision.
There is plenty of anticipation about enjoying the food here with beer and wine, but eager customers will have to wait; Hillman says he expects to secure a beer and wine license no sooner than the end of January. Expect a couple of beers and a cider on draft, and about 15 selections each of bottled beer and wine.
When I spoke with him Monday, he said the shop was about to introduce its baked macaroni and cheese, made in-house and available in single-serving sizes for about $8.
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The Cultured & The Cured
3644 J St.
Menu: Several options for cheese platters, charcuterie plates or a combination of the two, designed to be eaten there; three kinds of salads served with bread baked by the Village Bakery in Davis; a daily house-made soup; grilled cheese sandwich and three kinds of sandwiches made with charcuterie and cheese.
The mac and cheese will change regularly, with various cheeses used to make the sauce.
Pricepoint: Cheese and charcuterie plates are in the $10-$12 range (suitable for two people) or $18-$20 (for three or four); salads are $9, and sandwiches are about $12.
Ambiance: It’s a small, cozy and stylish shop that, when we were there, was bustling with energy, including a very friendly vibe from the owners and employees. Outdoor seating is in the planning and could happen by spring.
Drinks: Wine and beer are expected to be available by late January.
Service: You order at the counter; very accommodating and knowledgeable.
Try it if : You’re a fan of cheese and charcuterie and want to support a locally owned business that specializes in them.
Forget it if: You feel you can already get what you want from the grocery store.