Tina Zinn admits that when her niece told her she was opening a cheese shop in Grand Rapids she thought it was a crazy idea. But then, in the name of family reconnaissance, Tina checked out a cheese shop in a neighboring town—and spent $36. “I thought, Wow, she is on to something!” Zinn says. Zinn, who worked at Steelcase then, began moonlighting (and learning the art of cheese mongering) at her niece’s shop, a franchise of the Michigan-based company The Cheese Lady. When the opportunity came to open a Cheese Lady in Traverse City, Tina took an early retirement from Steelcase and used her savings to open it. That was last summer, and already the little shop on West Front has lines of customers, served by four to five cheese mongers at a time, waiting to sample, discuss and purchase any of the 136 varieties of (mostly) imported cheeses fresh off the wheel. Imagine: Spanish Cantar de Covadonga, Irish Cashel Blue, Basque Blue des Basques Brebis …
And lest you think The Cheese Lady is too international to come up with something so American as a Super Bowl dip, get in line, because you’ll want to make this super-easy crowd pleaser.
Listen to Tina Zinn wax poetic about cheese at a Superbowl party with the Traverse Magazine staff on Tuesday’s Table with Traverse Magazine on WTCM with Bill Froehlich and Norm Jones.
- 1/4 pound of fresh chèvre
- 6 ounces crème fraîche
- 1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes in olive oil
Mix all ingredients well and (preferably) serve with La Fiesta chips, made in Hart, Michigan.