Friday, May 10th, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Date Night: The Cavern and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra

This is a bit of a composite “Date Night” post, as I had planned for a pre-symphony visit to The Cavern before an outing to the Winspear Centre last Friday. But an intense craving for wine and cheese hit me on Thursday, and I gave in.

The Cavern is the newest storefront to open up on the 4th Street Promenade, and in spite of being first and foremost a cheese shop, owner Tricia Bell has designed a dine-in concept that easily transitions from day to night. Early birds can head to The Cavern for an espresso and a bite of breakfast in the morning, while downtown office workers might be more interested in her daily grilled cheese lunch options. For the after work crowd, The Cavern offers wine and spirits alongside meat and cheese boards, great for some nibbles leading up to dinner, or as the main attraction before a night out on the town.

Mack and I walked in to a near full house that Thursday, and snagged the last two seats at the bar. During our previous visits, Tricia and the rest of her staff have always been warm and welcoming, and tonight was no different. It was clear they were all very busy trying to manage the room and handling new walk-ins, but we never felt rushed or not taken care of.

The Enomatic system makes it ideal for The Cavern to serve small 3 ounce pours of wine in addition to 6 or 9 ounce glasses, but Mack and I were fine with a regular glass each. For those interested in pairings, the cheese menu lists both wine and beer selections.

The Cavern

Malbec and Cava

We had to choose between a cheese board for two featuring three cheeses ($19) or a cheese and meat board with two of each ($24). We opted for the latter, and selected two meats from a list of five, and two cheese from a list of twenty. Tricia was a great help in answering our questions and guided us to a Quebec washed-rind cheese, Le Douanier, with a unique vegetable ash centre. It was soft and mild, with a lovely creamy texture. Our other cheese choice was Sylvan Star’s award winning Grizzly Gouda.

The Cavern

Meat and cheese board, with all beef salami and prosciutto di parma

The board was beautifully presented, with some fruit, fresh bread, and dollops of cherry jam and jalapeno jelly. I also loved the ability to imprint on the board itself with chalk, a seamless way to identify multiple items.

The Cavern

Cheers!

The Cavern was a wonderful place to spend the evening, and one that we will be returning to again.

The following evening, Mack and I walked over to the Winspear Centre for Radio from the Head, a show in the “Late Night with Bill Eddins” series. It has been a while since we last took in one of these concerts, but we knew we were in for an entertaining night, mostly due to the conductor’s personality and ease on stage.

Late Night with Bill Eddins

The beautiful Winspear Centre

I was particularly drawn to this show because of the promise of a song to be paired with chocolate. Symphonic Chocolates by Maxime Goulet is composed of four movements, where the audience was invited to eat a different chocolate during the corresponding movement. The ESO partnered with local chocolatier Carol’s Quality Sweets, who produced the custom boxes of chocolates which were sold prior to the performance for $5 each.

It was an innovative multi-sensory experience that reminded me of Karen Brooks’ presentation at Feast in Portland which involved a communal tasting component, and the trend of food deliberately being paired with music. While we weren’t floored by all of the pairings, Mack and I enjoyed the dark chocolate which accompanied a theme cloaked in mystery, and a mint chocolate coupled with a movement reminiscent of a spring breeze.

Late Night with Bill Eddins

Chocolates!

The show’s special guest was Christopher O’Riley, known for his piano interpretations of Radiohead. Mack, more familiar with Radiohead than I, was drawn to O’Riley’s performances of the three Radiohead songs. And though we can appreciate the difficulty of the four-hands Stravinsky piece, its 33 minute length was a rather bulky way to end the late-night concert.

“Late Night with Bill Eddins” will be back in the 2013-14 Edmonton Symphony Orchestra calendar. No mention of chocolates, though.

The Cavern
2, 10169 104 Street
(780) 455-1336
Monday-Thursday 7am-8pm, Friday and Saturday 7am-11pm, Sunday 10am-5pm

Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Winspear Centre, 4 Sir Winston Churchill Square

  • A Canadian Foodie

    First – love charcuterie and cheese – especially if made in house. The first time I had a board was at Janice Beaton’s Farm, in Calgary. I was blown away as the board came with little pairings, like we offered earlier on with the Eat Alberta Boards… this mustard for this one, a cornichon, a dried apple, a toasted nut, some fruit jelly. I love the paired tastes with cheese and charcuterie.. and a variety of housemade crackers, too. My favourite way to nibble. Glad we got a place here who does that. Seems pricy to me for what was on your plate to be honest, but that is without tasting. :)
    Love the chocolate paired with music idea. What a lovely date night!

    We are making a washed rind cheese right now, with Cheesepalooza… I haven’t tried an ash cheese yet, but would like to; however, the ash is expensive if you are only making a small bit at home. Hopefully, I can share that purchase with others.
    I now have large rounds of an Asiago Pepeto, Gruyere, Gouda, Pecorino, and a couple of wedges of other cheeses in my “cave” aging …. what a celebration cracking those open will be! :)
    V