Pairing Cheeses with HerbNZest Condiments
An interview with Rudie Smit, Cheese Connoisseur and Owner of Olsson’s Fine Foods, now in Palmer’s Square in Princeton, NJ In April, 2011, Rudie Smit and his wife Jennifer moved their gourmet cheese store, Olsson’s Fine Foods from its location at the Trenton Farmer’s Market to its current location at Palmer’s Square in Princeton, NJ. The square in Princeton town center with its historic and quant charm is aptly suited for Olsson which strives to aspire to the standards of premium cheese stores in Manhattan.  I met Rudie in summer of 2010 when I moved back to Princeton and was shopping for fresh produce at the farmer’s market. I was so impressed with his knowledge of cheeses and collection thereof, that ever since I have kept coming back to taste and learn more. Rudie is Dutch, and this definitely shows in his love for and knowledge of cheeses. In fact, Rudie’s passion for educating his customers about Cheeses is evident from the manner in which he strikes up conversations about the origin, flavor profile, and suggested pairings as he offers a taste (tasting before a purchase is mandatory and very much in line with Rudie’s philosophy of sharing his knowledge). The Palmer Square store will carry over 200 assortments of cheeses, as well as gourmet olives, meats, and condiments. It was not a surprise therefore that I turned to Rudie’s expertise when I was trying to write about suggested cheese pairings for HerbNZest condiments (launching in July 2011). Rudie graciously agreed to offer his suggestions. For HerbNZest Basil Peach Raisin Spread Rudie suggested The Delice de Bourgogne which is an aged French cow's milk cheese from the Burgundy region of France. Given its rich and creamy texture and pungent flavor, it pairs well with HerbNZest Basil Peach Raisin Spread which is sweet and tangy with a fresh basil undertone. For HerbNZest Chive Tomato Mustard Spread, Rudie recommended The Zamorano which is a aged hard sheep's milk cheese made in the province of Zamora, Spain. Due to its rich texture and piquant and nutty flavor, it pairs well with the tangy and savory HerbNZest Chive Tomato Mustard Spread with its heat finish.

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