How-To: Assemble Enviable Spreads With The Cheesemongers

May 25, 2016




Assembling the perfect cheeseboard has become essential to entertaining at home. A photoworthy spread and a few good bottles of wine is an easy way to impress your guests.


What we love most about cheeseboards (apart from cheese) is the fun in putting them together in a creative way. The possibilities are truly endless. If you haven’t put a board together before, the task may seem intimidating – which is why we called in our friends at The Cheesemongers, a Winnipeg-based fromagerie, to give us tips and tricks for putting together an enviable spread. Just in time for spring and summer hosting!



The Cheesemongers – Meg Gifford and Courtney Dhaliwal // Photo by Joel Wiebe


Ask Your Local Cheesemonger


1. Our most basic rule is to start with the very best cheese. Farmstead or artisanal cheeses are made using traditional methods by dedicated cheesemakers, from fresh, nutritious milk, rather than in a factory. You can pick these up from your local fromagerie.


2. Note the occasion. Tell your cheesemonger what the cheese is for. A formal party or a casual get-together? The cheesemonger might ask what you like and don’t like, and how many people will be eating it.


3. Serve a variety. Go soft to hard clockwise, with blue at the end.


4. Don’t be afraid to try something new. It may smell funny. It may be blue. It may be as old as a history book, but, try it anyway – you might just fall in love with it!




Choosing the Right Cheese


1. Recall this easy rhyme when choosing your cheese: something old, something new, something goat and something blue.


2. Make sure you choose a good balance of flavours (strong to mild), textures (soft, semi-soft, semi-hard and hard), colour, shapes and sizes.


3. You only need 4-5 cheeses for a crowd.


4. Make sure you have a variety of milk types on your board: goat, cow, sheep, even water buffalo!









1. Note the number of people you’re serving. Generally, the rule of thumb is 2 oz. – 3 oz. per person, depending on what else you’re serving at the party.


2. Set your cheese out on the counter one hour before you plan to eat it. Room temperature cheese reveals flavour profiles that cold cheese doesn’t, and it’s simply more delicious. (Cheesemonger Hint: cover your cheese in a slightly damp cloth to keep the moisture locked in).


3. Labelling cheese is a good idea, especially for more cautious guests. Note the name of the cheese, its country of origin, and the type of milk on a small tent card, or cute label.


4. Tips for serving wine – the whiter and fresher the cheese, the crispier and fruitier the wine should be. The harder and darker the cheese, the heavier and richer the style of wine may be. Step outside the box – try pairing washed rind cheeses with a lighter red, or craft beer!





1. Never pour, dump or drizzle jam, compote or chutney onto the cheese. If you’re serving a few accompaniments on the board, do just that – accompany, don’t messy up the cheese!


2. Don’t go too crazy on pairings – choose a thinly sliced baguette (over crackers), in-season fruit, one jam or compote and one or two savoury options like olives, salami, nuts or mustard. The traditional accoutrements are always easy, but don’t be afraid to try something unexpected. Things like honeycomb, chocolate or pickled fennel make fun additions to a board.


3. Fresh, non-sprayed florals or greenery is The Cheesemongers’ signature mark. It adds a pop of colour – especially this time of year.




Knives and Boards


1. Traditional wooden boards with a handle like this one are perfect for serving. Or, try marble (like the Coast Marble Cheese Board), ceramic and glass cake platters, shallow bowls or plates. Cutting boards (wood or marble) can double as a cheese board.


2. Each cheese should have its own knife. Try the EQ3 Ridge Cheese Knives (3 Pc Set).




Set the Table


1. Set the table for the occasion. Go simple with a neutral runner and napkins, or pick a playful print by Marimekko. Add a candle to create a relaxed environment, but be sure it’s unscented.


2. Keep side plates and utensils on hand for those less brave to eat with their hands.


3. Set out glassware for your whites and reds (we like the Terrace glasses for their inward turned lip – great for preventing any spills at your party), beer and sparkling or flat water.




With these tricks in tow, your guests will surely be capturing your very photoworthy spread via Snapchat and Instagram.


How-To: Invigorate Your Space With Texture

May 18, 2016

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Every room is worthy of texture. Patterns and colours shouldn’t always get the glory for making a space come together. By introducing texture you can instantly add some dimension and invigorate your space.


There may not be any hard-hitting rules to follow when it comes to implementing textures, just as long as the materials and colours work cohesively together. To seamlessly add texture into your space, take a look at how we transform different rooms with texture.


Refresh your living room with a sofa or sectional upholstered in Coachella, a full aniline leather, available in four colourways. Coachella leather is drum-dyed, allowing the natural grain to show through.


If you’re partial to fabric, our new wool/felt blend, Lana, is soft and supple and available in eight colour options. Pair your upholstered piece with Kyt, or any of our other jute rugs, new for spring.


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Eve Sofa in Coachella Cognac Leather, Rubix Ottoman in Lana Pink, Kyt Rug, Custom Coffee Table in marble


When considering texture in the dining room, start with the obvious – your dining table. Bring an element of the outside in with The Kendall Custom Dining Table in a reclaimed teak top. Its natural texture creates a sense of warmth. Or, go sleek with a cool marble top. Soften the look with fabric chairs (Valentin or Abigail work beautifully) or go simple with Acel, made from matte grey recycled leather.


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Kendall Dining Table with Carrara Marble Top, Mille Milk Jug, Acel Dining Chairs


Set the table with our Wila Dinner Plates, wood cutting boards, and Acre fabric napkins to blend in multiple textures at once. Food is another great way to layer in texture. We love a good cheese or charcuterie spread with all the accoutrements!


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Wila Dinnerware, Dot Tray, Dot Coasters


Bedrooms are foolproof when it comes to adding texture. Work from the bottom up; start with a soft woven rug to bring on warmth. Next, choose your bed. Reclaimed teak is rustic, but inviting (incase you need another reason to crawl back in). Dress the bed with our new 500-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and a soft duvet. Toss a cozy York throw at the foot of bed to tie it all in.


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Reclaimed Teak Bed, Reclaimed Teak Low Dresser, Reclaimed Teak Nightstand, Pico Table Lamp, Check Duvet Set, Balliage Rug, Lyla Side Chair in Forest Green, Haptic End Table in Forest Green, Silv Vase


Everywhere else
Pillows, rugs and throws can add texture to almost any room. These items can invigorate a space effortlessly and enhance a room with your own personality.


Greenery is another beautiful texture to revive a space – think leafy ferns, desert cacti or a fun seasonal floral.


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Owen Rug


How-To: Organize Your Closet (When You Don’t Really Have a Closet)

May 9, 2016


Let’s get right to it. Having little or no closet space isn’t the ideal situation. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have closet space to store our prized possessions/conceal our ongoing clothing obsession. It’s common for character/older homes to have non-existent storage, which can be a major inconvenience.



Grow Shelving Unit


That’s why we’re showing you creative ways that will make it possible to maximize your storage, while minimizing the space you use. Here are some unconventional products to build your own closet and get organized.



Jane Ladders


1. The Ladder to Extra Storage
The Jane Ladder is foundational for organizing a compact space. Configure the ladder to meet your needs with any of the add-on storage accessories. Use the hook accessory to hang your jewelry or belts, stack your magazines in the tray, or drape your cozy hand-knit Bruno throw over one of the solid beech racks. Not only will the Jane Ladder become a focal piece, it will maximize your use of space.



Spot Wall Knob


2. Soar to New Heights

A simple solution to gain extra storage is using empty wall space. With multipurpose Spot Wall Knobs or Yves Floating Shelves, the options are endless when thinking of places to utilize them. For the Spot Wall Knobs, use hangers to make it easier to hang jackets or your collection of scarves. The Yves Floating Shelves make an ideal display area for your sunglasses and watches. Their minimal design will keep your space tidy and prevent items from finding a permanent place on the floor.



Concord Baskets


3. Box It Up

Concord Baskets are essential for tucking odds and ends away, into their newly found spot. The baskets fit perfectly into the Grow Shelving Unit, an ideal unit for a makeshift closet.



Assembly Rack


4. Nice Rack

If you’re in need of an informal rack, the Assembly Rack is perfect for any living space. Hang clothes waiting to be hung in your bedroom, store your throws over the racks in your living room, or hang your towels up in your bathroom.




Sheet Double Dresser


5. Hide Away

If you have some extra space to use up, a dresser will give you enough storage for your items. The Sheet Double Dresser provides maximum storage with its deep-set drawers.


How to: Set the table for Spring

Mar 16, 2016

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To celebrate the official start of spring, and hopefully a renewed will to entertain, we bring you a quick guide that outlines how to set your dining table. We understand it can be hard to keep it casual, but simple is best when it comes to setting your table for guests – no ornamental gourds, no unnecessary table runners and enough space between plates to pass the wine.


Step 1 – Start Fresh!


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Setting the table for spring is about texture, materiality and natural elements. Don’t cover up your table top, instead start with a clean slate like our Reclaimed Teak Kendall top.

Step 2 – Bring the outside in!

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Flowers and foliage are essential to ground your table setting. We tend to choose arrangements that are subtle and leafy like the one pictured, artfully arranged by Kyla from Academy Florists.

Step 3 – Start to Layer

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Add fabric napkins, like our Acre collection and a patterned ceramic plate. Something classic, like Marimekko prints, work best.

Step 4 – Make it personal!

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Round out your table arrangement with personalized place settings. Your guests will love the hand-touched element and best of all, you get to control the seating plan!

5 – Set your table!

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Set your table with enough flatware for each course and a separate water and wine glass. Don’t forget to pair your glassware with the drinks you will be serving – champagne flutes for mimosas, highballs for mojitos.

6 – Add texture and height!

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Introducing a secondary texture and/or height to your place setting is important! Always think about visual hierarchy and separation – something as simple as adding a tray for coffee or a board for bread and cheese will result in a much more sophisticated table setting.

7 – Let there be light!

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Aside from their obvious functional qualities, candles create ambience and make any table feel instantaneously more intimate. These Assembly candle holders, were inspired by the evolving typology of the candle holder – from functional to ornamental. Take advantage of the ornament.

Setting the table doesn’t need to be as hard as Pinterest makes it look – minimal over opulence almost always wins.

Want to know how to do more? Keep checking back as all through spring we will bring you our take on how to overcome everything from arranging a charcuterie board to organizing your closet.

Ottawa City Guide

Mar 8, 2016

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Best pizza: Anthony’s
Anthony’s is home to the best pizza in Ottawa, hands down. Simple and authentic, pizzas are made fresh to order in a wood-fired oven and dressed with quality ingredients. At the moment, Anthony’s in Hintonburg is the only location, but a Glebe location is opening soon on Bank street.


Photo via Yelp


Best date spot: Town
This little Elgin street hotspot is the best date spot in town. The menu, made up of smaller plates and hearty mains, is casual, hearty and great for sharing. The tap is everchanging with a great selection of local beer and the cocktails are crafted with love. Reservations are highly recommended as Town is always bustling no matter the day. Grab a seat at the bar, order a bottle of wine and share a few plates (try the meatballs!) with the one you love.


Photo via Facebook


Best outdoor market: Lansdowne Market
Lansdowne Market in the Glebe is by far the city’s largest farmer’s market. Hosted outdoors in the warmer months and in the Aberdeen pavillion during the winter, Lansdowne market hosts over 100 local vendors. You can find Ontario-grown produce and meats, as well as artisinal cheeses, food products and goods.


Photo via Centretown blog


Best running route: The canal
The Rideau canal is the oldest operating canal in North America, and is one of the most visited tourist spots in Canada. Its scenic views provide a beautiful running route with many green spaces to stop for a picnic or short break.


photo via Solo Trips and Tips blog


Best coffee shop: Bridgehead
With 15 locations in the city, Ottawa-grown Bridgehead boasts fairly-traded, organic coffee beans, artfully-crafted beverages and killer baked goods. They source locally grown produce, meat and dairy for their menu and even make their own kombucha.


photo via TripAdvisor


Best brunch: Edgar
Located in Gatineau, Edgar is a tiny cafe with a lot of heart. Chef and owner Marysol Foucault offers a gourmand-friendly menu that will satisfy meat lovers and sweet tooths alike. Edgar is a cafe during the week, offering lunch specials and a rotating take-home meal selection. On weekends, loyal brunch-goers line up outside the 10-seat restaurant for one of a kind brunch offerings, including the salty and sweet pancake creation known as the Dutch Baby.


photo via Zomato


Best architectural building: National Gallery of Canada
Designed by Moshe Safdie in 1988, the National Gallery of Canada is architecturally stunning. Centrally located in the heart of downtown, the gallery is home to indoor and outdoor gardens, a 30-foot tall bronze spider sculpture, as well as one of the best views overlooking the city and neighboring Gatineau.


photo via Insiders Ottawa


Best music venue: Ritual Nightclub
Ritual is a two-floor venue unlike any other in Ottawa. The venue’s size allows for ultra-intimate concerts, while the basement nightclub brings in a large weekend crowd. I’ve seen many a memorable show here, ranging from St. Vincent to Post Malone.


photo via Where


Best cocktail bar: Union Local 613
Union Local 613 is a welcome addition to the Ottawa restauraut scene and is my favorite watering hole. A hidden speakeasy, accessible through a bookshelf in the basement, is home to some of the best bartenders in town. The creative cocktail list is updated regularly, but I usually stick to what I know – they make a mean Negroni.


photo via Her Campus


Best patio: Murray Street Kitchen
This Byward Market gem is home to the best, most secluded patio in the city. The patio, found in the restaurant’s backyard, is surrounded by lush greenery and trees. It’s the perfect spot for a lazy summer day brunch, or a happy hour pint and charcuterie plate.


photo via Insiders Ottawa

Words by Chanelle Foisy, EQ3 Ottawa

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