For the love of Fromage

By Kimberly Giles

Kendall and John Antonelli are celebrating a decade in business at their cut to order artisanal cheese shop in the heart of Austin.

This husband and wife team hatched a plan over 10 years ago while on their honeymoon about how they could ditch their full-time careers and do something they felt passionate about and loved.

While on the beach of sunny Grenada in the Caribbean, John had the realization that he was not liked as an auditor but “everyone does like cheese.”

Photo by Andrew Bennett

It was as simple as that, according to these two cheese-mongers – they loved being together, traveling and sharing good food experiences that make everyone happy.

Cheese became their kismet.

This duo went on to learn the trade intensively through diligent research and extensive travels that lead them through France, Italy and Switzerland. Ultimately, John was able to intern with the French Affiner, Herve Mons. Mons is a well-respected and generational Affiner (refiner) cheese maker. He works closely with farmers in his French region to ensure his cheese is a reflection of his area and encapsulates the process of aging together. He has a philosophy of cheese as “living” with a personality, expression of taste and aroma employed with a consistency of very high standards.

This cheesy love of Kendall and John’s ended up in Austin, where Kendall (a native Texan) and John opened their first location on February 11, 2010. Starting out as a team of two they are now 25 strong (6 of these employees are ACS certified cheese experts) and carry over 100 types of cheese that can be cut to order.

Along with international cheese options the Antonelli’s also source domestic farmstead cheeses with other handmade pairings like local honey, regional preserves, charcuterie meats and chocolate.

Photo by Andrew Bennett

Partnering with and understanding their community producers locally and abroad that employ the highest ethical and sustainable practices in turn allows for many of Antonelli’s loyal patrons a continuing education of all things fromage.

Antonelli’s procured cheeses are not just in Austin they are also featured in many locations throughout the Texas Hill Country, including:

William Chris Vineyards, Altstadt Brewery, Cross Mountain Vineyards, La Bergerie, Andruecci Wines, Cabernet Grill, Hye Meadow Winery, Southold Farm and Cellars, Jobell, Fall Creek Vineyards, Desert Door and Vista Brewing.

Included beside is their expertly devised list of cheese/food/beverages that combines taste, smell, aroma and sensations. A delight for the olfactory senses.