By Larry Levine –

(Cheeses and meats, sauces and treats, and so much more. Another in what is becoming a series of articles about online shopping for specialty food products.)

Back in July, Larry Sheingold published a piece at Table Talk titled “Online Edibles” in which he wrote of places from which he likes to purchase condiments and sauces online.

That was followed in October by Larry Dietz’ piece titled “Espresso from the Duomo to Home” in which he revealed an online connection from which to purchase the coffee he loved and first tasted near the Duomo in Florence Italy.

Now, I’ll step up to the plate and disclose a few web sites at which I like to order online. (No, your name does not have to be Larry to write for Table Talk, though it sometimes may seem that way.)

Jennifer and I decided to get away for the last two weeks of the year in 2007. We rented a place right on the water at Tomales Bay north of San Francisco. It was a cottage we had seen in a photograph on the cover of Coastal Living. We were extremely fortunate. For 11 of the 12 days we were there we had nothing but bright sunlight and magnificent views. We watched the feeding frenzy of local bird life fishing for dinner in the Bay waters. We photographed birds perched on the railing of the balcony outside our living room window. We went for long walks and drives. We read to the peaceful sound of water lapping against the posts that supported our hide-a-way. I wrote. We went for drives. I didn’t shave for 12 days and Jennifer called me her “woolly mountain man”.

For dinners, we visited some of the local restaurants that hadn’t closed for the season. But breakfasts and lunches were taken mostly in our cottage, a feat made much more wonderful by the discovery of Cowgirl Creamery and a wonderful bakery in the town of Point Reyes, just a couple of miles from where we were staying. This was the actual Cowgirl Creamery headquarters and cheese making plant, not one of its satellite stores. We laid in a stock of cheeses and meats for our lunches. Each morning one or the other of us would drive into town and pickup some fresh pastries to have with coffee for breakfast and fresh bread for the cheese and meat lunch. We also stocked some very nice northern California wines.

It’s a good thing we did this in 2007, because a year later it would not have been possible. After my bypass surgery in July of 2008 I was put on a low-fat, low-cholesterol, and low-sodium diet that would have ruled out the cheeses and meats. I have learned how to cook and order in restaurants in ways that accommodate the restrictions of my diet. I still eat very well. But there are certain lines that I respect with care.

A couple of weeks ago I received the Holiday/Winter Artisan & Farmstead Cheese catalogue from Cowgirl Creamy. With great nostalgia, I opened it and browsed. There were the cheeses I recalled from that trip: Mt. Tam, a triple-cream “crafted with milk from the Straus dairy and enriched with cream;” Red Hawk, with a pungent washed rind and triple-cream interior; Humboldt Fog goat cheese with vegetable ash through the center. These and more can be seen and ordered at

Another recent mail delivery brought a catalogue from “gourmet foodstore”.  Oh, what wonders are contained between those covers: three pages of caviars along with mini bilinis and crème fraiche; escargot, smoked salmon and gravadlax, lobsters, truffles; olive oils from France, Spain and Italy; balsamic vinegars from Modena and Reggio Emilia, some aged more than 75 years; four pages of foie gras and pates; Wagyu steaks, Iberico hams, prosciutto di Parma, salamis and sausages, sauces and sweets and jams and cookies, foods from around the world … a veritable toy store for the gourmet minded. (

Several years ago, on a trip through the Napa Valley, I discovered a line of specialty vinegars and vinaigrettes from Cuisine Perel. I brought some home for salad dressings. In time my horizons would expand to include their infused grape seed oils, bread dippers, chocolate sauces, and other wonderful items. Visit them and order on line at

From time to time we’ll try to run more tips about online shopping sites that are distinguished by the quality or uniqueness of their offerings. You can know we will only post sites at which we have shopped and can attest to the quality and dependability. For that reason, we will not allow references to other sites in the comments section below. But feel free to let us know how you like the ones suggested here or in the older articles by Larry Sheingold and Larry Dietz, which you can find by clicking on their names on the home page to Table Talk

Share this: