Scott Lankford—designer and the new owner, with his wife, Dr. Heather Rassel, of Manny’s Cheese Bar just south of Suttons Bay, is passionate about his new vocation: “I love food. I love wine. Cheese is very similar to wine,” he says. “The nose, the terroir, the nuances from one wheel of a variety to another wheel.” Not surprisingly, given Lankford’s thick résumé of breathtaking home designs, the interior of the new shop sports a hip, Euro vibe. The backdrop feels just right for perusing the 60 or so varieties of cheese that crowd the cases.

[Listen! Lick the Plate Podcast Features Scott Lankford]

Scott assembled this cheese board with an eye to the balance of taste: the heavy, triple-cream Délice de Bourgogne and the light, grassy Graskaas. The Asiago is a nice surprise, he points out, since it is generally a cooking cheese and less a noshing cheese. “This one is light and very approachable—it’s made on a small farmstead in Wisconsin,” he says. Interspersing the cheese with other charcuterie items is equally important. But most important of all, says Scott, is to proceed slowly. “It’s better to eat an olive like an apple,” he says. “That’s the way to approach the whole thing—opening up the wine, getting the supplies. Take it in little by little bit. Then you enjoy things oh so much.”

Make it a cheese day! After visiting Manny’s Cheese Bar, stop by Leelanau Cheese, which is just two miles down the road right off of M22!

More Northern Michigan Food & Drink

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner