From Beverly Hills, California:
They Call Him the
Princiotta Shares His Love of Cheese
cheesy about it: Princiotta flipping a steak in his backyard
recently caught up with Tony Princiotta, manager and buyer at
the famous The
Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, over tri-tip and Colgin
a few chunks of cheese. Tony's passion for food started quite
a few years ago, and he puts it in practice daily at his job,
at home and on his travels. When customers forget his name they
call him "the cheese guy." But his knowledge of food
goes far beyond cheese along with his appreciation for wines,
history, classic American automobiles and golf.
is an instructor at many of the Southland's cooking institutions
and a judge at food competitions including the prestigious Royal,
put together by the Kansas City BBQ society. He is involved in
many food organizations such as Slow
Food and the AIWF,
and restaurateurs and chefs call on him for advice on cheese buying
and pairing. In other words, he has earned a reputation in the
Food Paper: What are your favorite cheeses?
Tony Princiotta: Basques cheese made of sheep's milk like
Onitik, Ineguy or Istara, because they go so well with wines.
I also fancy sheep and goat milk offerings from the Loire area
of France and finally Manchego from Spain.
Who were your mentors in the food and wine world?
TP: Definitely my parents; growing up was all about food
with a German mother and an Italian father. Then there were Julia
Child, James Beard and Graham Kerr. Today, I like Jamie Oliver
because what he does is simple, tasty and quick.
What's your favorite thing to do in the store?
TP: I love to introduce our customer to new products, and
not just cheese. We are constantly bringing in new stuff, most
of which is totally new to them. I am always on the lookout for
a special wine or hard-to-get olive oil etc.
What is your favorite thing to do out of the store?
TP: Food is my life, so cooking comes next, followed by
gardening. There is always something for me to use at dinner directly
from the garden, and then I make wine here and there (for myself),
sauces, liquors. I enjoy traveling to discover new products and
visiting the wine country.
What's a great cheese and wine pairing?
TP: Boy, there is so much but as a general rule, the terroir
is the common denominator. Take, for example, Camembert and cider.
In your many years in the cheese business, what are current
buying behaviors and what do you see in the future?
TP: Truly, the Baby Boomers are setting the pace and they
are getting more full flavor goat and sheep cheese and moving
away from Brie and Jarslberg. As well, you see chefs using a multitude
of cheese in their recipes and quoting the name of the cheese
in the dish on the menu.
Cheese Store of Beverly Hills
419 N. Beverly Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210