Southern California cheese lovers will soon be flocking to a new hub for specialty innovation and expertise. Second-generation cheesemaker Kurt Gurdal has announced his new venture, opening the doors to his own neighborhood cheese shop and market in Santa Monica Canyon, dubbed Canyon Grocer. There, Gurdal offers cheese pairing classes, gift boxes, and cheese and charcuterie platters in addition to his deep well of cheese knowledge.
“This cozy lil brick and mortar will be packed with great yummy items from producers I love to represent,” Gurdal stated in a recent Instagram post. “I’m excited to add a small market to such a wonderful community and make it easy for people to walk on down and pick up a loaf of bread or a missing ingredient to their dinner recipe.”
Gurdal has been attracting a local following of an enthusiastic clientele who hire him for private parties, tastings, pairings, and more over the past 10 years. He works with a handful of partners who provide the wine, spirits, and beer selections to pair with the cheese and charcuterie.
“These pairings are some of my favorite things to do. Sometimes in the hustle of the shop, you rarely have the time to talk in-depth about the product and the producer,” he said. “These tastings are what make me tick and are why I do what I do on a daily basis.”
He is also known for creating lush grazing tables, cheese and charcuterie platters, and customized gift boxes.
According to a press release, Gurdal’s parents, Ihsan and Valerie Gurdal, are owners of the world-renowned cheese shop, Formaggio Kitchen, so he was born into the industry.
“Although I literally grew up immersed in cheese, becoming a cheesemonger still requires formal training. So I began mine at Neal’s Yard Dairy in London, which has the reputation of being one of the world’s best shops—and is truly an institution of British Isle cheese,” added Gurdal.
For more of Gurdal’s background in the cheese industry and information about his new cheese shop, check out the press release here.
If you need me, I’ll be on my way to Southern California for a one-of-a-kind cheese experience.