Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The Mousehole. Cloverdale's Smoregasboard of Smells
Joseppi Fratini opened The Mousehole on Dibley Lane in Coverdale in 1964. The business specializes in everything related to fine cheeses. If you need something exotic, you’ll find it there. One thing you won’t find in The Mousehole is beautiful smells if your definition of beautiful is blossom fragrances. This small shop’s cheeses carry smells ranging from cheddar neutral to the dirty socks smell of Limburger. Some would argue that English Costwold should be ranked next to Limburger. Of course if you want a nose curdling foul smelling cheese with the heaviest hit to the pocket book then you’ll want Joseppi’s special cheese ‘Fontina Val d’Aosta DOP. This vomit inducer sells for $558 for a 20 pound wheel.
The Fratini grandchildren help in the shop at busy times, especially holidays when fine cooking is expected. From the time they started eating solid food they learned to savor the taste of fine cheeses and became experts. The grandchildren use their expertise by giving tours and tastings to school field trips. The best part of the field trip is the Iron Nose Championship. The students line up with noses ready. The grandchildren prepare various cheeses for smelling. Each cheese is held under the student's noses for a sniff. The child advances to the next round if he displays no reaction to the smell. The competition continues until one student is left standing. That child is proclaimed "Iron Nose" and given a gift certificate for a take home macaroni and cheese dinner from The Mousehole's small, one table cafe.
In addition to the luxury cheeses, The Mousehole serves the best Macaroni and Cheese in the Confederacy using the very cheeses sold in the refrigerated display cases. A reservation is required for the one table in the back of the shop. Think ahead, it books out months in advance, and remember your reservation is for twenty minutes only. Mrs. Maria Fratini's marconi and cheese is the one and only item on the menu . She serves a different type of Marconi and cheese each day and Saturday is her surprise day. You don’t know what you’ll get until she serves it piping hot to the table.
Spending time in Cloverdale’s ‘The Mousehole’ is an adventure of sight, smell, and taste. It is a must for any visitor to Cloverdale seeking a truly off the beaten path gastric adventure. At the Mousehole you get fine cheeses, good laughs, and a delicious portion of Marconi and cheese. Along with the atmosphere of an old world cheese shop you can rub shoulders with Cloverdale’s finest cooks searching for just the right taste to make a special evening meal for family and friends.