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Bites: Time to grill the cheese



On April 12, I attended a grilled cheese tasting and judging event at Gather Wine Bar in the village of Arroyo Grande with a few friends and fellow melty-cheese-smothered-in-bread connoisseurs.

As judges, we were some of the select 40 deemed worthy enough to give our say over the glorious grilled cheese concoctions brought forth for our palatal enjoyment. OK, so the tickets were free and there were 40 judge passes available, but just let me have my moment in the sun, would ya?

I’m not lying when I say that I, along with a few of my friends, are grilled cheese professionals. In fact, I have tickets to attend the annual Los Angeles Grilled Cheese Invitational on April 20. Yeah. I really love grilled cheese.

That’s why I was caught off guard when one of my fellow grilled cheese addicts casually dropped a huge culinary bombshell on me that had me questioning the very foundation of my love for the stuff.

“So, I read somewhere that, in order for something to qualify as grilled cheese, it can only have three ingredients. Anything else is just a sandwich with melted cheese,” she said casually.

She might have said something more, but my brain exploded shortly after that.

This new revelation changes everything for me. I had long since believed the cheese in grilled cheese to be the focal point of the sandwich, regardless of other content.

But now I had to stew in the knowledge that I had been putting the cheese on a pedestal, disregarding the other ingredients simply so that I could label the sandwich a “grilled cheese.”

I looked down at my sample of a delicious Prosciutto, tomato, lettuce, and grilled cheese sandwich with universal longing and questioning.

Had I been wrong? Had it not been the cheese that I had loved all along? Had it been the idea of the cheese?

I paused briefly before sinking my teeth in, terrified that I wouldn’t feel the same overwhelming, warm, gooey love flowing from the edges of the bread I had once felt.

As I dove in mouth first, brain second, I braced for the love loss to set in. But with each bite, my brain chanted one thing, and one thing only: “Holy mother of god, this cheese is good.”

Everything was cheesy and nothing hurt. It was the cheese all along.

I smiled to myself, content with the knowledge that a grilled cheese is whatever you want to make of it.

The Gather Wine Bar Grilled Cheese event was cheese-filled and delicious. Check back in to see what other fun events they’re host to at gatherwinebar.com.

Calendar Editor Maeva Considine has faith in the cheese. Send her an e-mail at mconsidine@newtimesslo.com.

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