Curds and Wheyfarers

Last Tuesday, the City Council heard more recommendations from Chico Police Chief Kirk Trostle, but this time he’s targeting establishments serving cheese. “There are so many establishments serving cheese in our downtown; we’ve already got 200% more chips-and-dips licenses than the recommended allowance by the FDA, and that’s not including food trucks,” said Chief Trostle. John Jones, owner of Curds & Wheyfarers craft nacho cheese bar, disagrees with Chief Trostle’s recommendations.

Jones got his start 10 years ago, peddling around with nothing more than a pedicab-style bike and a small crock of high-quality handcrafted nacho cheese. People from all over town would bring their own chips, vegetables, sometimes even hot dogs, and buy a cup of cheese from Jones. Eventually he saved up enough cheddar to take over the lease on a place downtown. Along with the lease, came a chips-and-dips license that Jones had expected to use to open his artisanal cheese bar. “This isn’t the type of place where a bunch of college kids would come to get nachos at 2am after the bars close—these nachos are made with craft nacho cheese. The cheese is like a fine craft beer, which college students also wouldn’t be interested in,” says Jones.

Mayor Mary Goloff had questions for Jones at the council meeting last week. “You know, I don’t eat nacho cheese, so I’m not sure what ‘craft nacho cheese’ is, exactly. Can you explain it to me?”

Jones replied, “I hate labels. I don’t like having to put everything into little boxes. But if you had to label my cheese, I guess you could call it… real. And I have to credit Sierra Nevada—the cheese company, not the beer—for helping to pioneer this craft-cheese movement. Granted, we weren’t planning on selling their cheese or using their cheese in any of our craft nacho cheese taps, but their coattails are the best coattails for riding around town.”

“How is this different from fondue?” asked councilmember Tami Ritter. “I mean, maybe we should go back and look at the other chips-and-dips licenses we’ve been denying as well…were they maybe fondue? Is fondue French? Doesn’t it have a higher curd content?”

Jones replied, “This is entirely different from fondue, but it has a lot of the same properties. First of all, there is cheese, of course. But, all in all, it is very different. Our craft nacho cheeses may contain as little as 3-4% cheese.”

Chief Trostle could not be reached for comment, as his cell phone doesn’t get reception inside his castle on Snake Mountain.

Tags: , , , , ,

Sara makes the words happen.