No. It really is!
Excuse me while I channel my inner Alton Brown.
Cheese contains a protein called casein. Cow's milk composition is roughly 80% of this protein; one that is broken down into a peptid called casomorphins. Morphins...morphine. See the connection? The digestion of cheese actually has an opioid effect on the body. That's why when they ask you if you want cheese on your burger you salivate like Pavlov's dog.
That was the reaction my body had when we visited St. James Cheese Company in New Orleans. The specialty cheese shop/cafe located at 5004 Prytania is a Turophile's dream.
Heading up the walkway you are surrounded by people eating sandwiches and salads, all adorned with cheeses of different types. A worker with a cart full of cheeses hurries out the door, pushing the line of customers further back.
"Excuse me. I'm sorry. Excuse me."
I can only assume he is rushed to fill an order for one of the many restaurants for which St. James provides cheeses. As it was, Chef Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery was the one who fed us a perfect meal and then gave us his sure recommendation of the cheese shop.
"I know you just ate, but at least check it out for the smells."
It was aromatic. The scents of cheeses and meats met our noses well before we made our way into the building.
There were more cheeses there than I had ever seen. Some reports online claim that there are over 1,000 varieties of cheese in existence worldwide. St. James doesn't have them all, but they have their fair share.
There were no seats available inside the cafe or even outside in the blistering New Orleans heat. St. James is a hit with the locals and they have the knowledge to back what they sell.
James Gentry, an employee at St. James, is more than meets the eye. Talking with him, you can tell he knows his stuff. What you may not know is that he competed in the Cheese Monger Invitational where he placed 3rd in the nation!
St. James Cheese Company is a great place for anyone who likes cheese or charcuterie items. Its exciting atmosphere will entertain you while you scan the shelves for jellies, jams, and other items that are sure to tempt your taste buds.
I had so much fun that I wanted to title this post "In Queso Emergency, Pray to Cheeses", but my teenage son said, "Dad, that's cheesy!"
Seriously--this cheese shop is no joke. It is truly an "Eat This Road Trip" recommendation. Don't feel like you have to make the trip to New Orleans to experience it, though. St. James can ship you the smells from their website.
Visit and like them on Facebook.
Check out their helpful and informative website here.
St. James Cheese Company
New Orleans, LA