LIFE&STYLE

[The Palate] Beautifully crafted, domestically made

By Korea Herald

Cheeseflo debuts with local artisanal cured meats and cheeses

  • Published : Feb 3, 2017 - 19:30
  • Updated : Feb 6, 2017 - 09:34
Bright white sterile walls and a cool, clean minimal decor radiate from the big windows of the newly opened cheese shop and restaurant Cheeseflo in busy Hannam-dong. Wedged between two streets near the Leeum Museum, the restaurant showcases its in-house-made cured meats hanging in an aging room with an immaculate glass encased affinage room at the opposite end. Cheeseflo immediately entices passersby with its attractive homemade products, but the true allure lies within its doors. 
 

Cheeseflo‘s aging epoisses (photo cred: Lee Kyung Sub)

Chef owner Jang Hyun Cho single-handedly makes almost all of the cured meats and cheeses at Cheeseflo. Switching gears mid-life from a Samsung global marketer to following a childhood passion in the arts, Cho chose to dive head first into educating himself about the culinary arts by attending cooking schools around the world. Through his travels, Cho found his calling in curing meats and then cheese-making, spending many years fine-tuning his skills in Italy, France, San Francisco and New Zealand before setting up shop in Korea. 

The cool interiors of Cheeseflo in Hannam-dong, Seoul (photo cred: Lee Kyung Sub)

At Cheeseflo, there is a meticulousness felt in every detail of its interior, and the dishes reveal a depth of knowledge beyond one‘s anticipation. From the sourcing of the freshest antibiotic-free milk from a dairy farm in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, for their cheese and yogurts, to the daily morning drives to the farm to hand make each individual cheese, the chef’s intensity and finesse for his work results in a truly elegant product.
The pungent custard-like Burgundian epoisses, a washed-rind cheese aged for a minimum of 25 days, tastes complex and delicate. Their focaccia di Recco, a thin crusted flatbread filled with stracchino cheese which is rarely found outside of Italy because of its short shelf life, is available because Cho makes his own fresh stracchino cheese for this dish.
A trio of cheeses ranging from blues to soft and semi-hard samplings to the better known mozzarella varieties can be chosen as you prefer with a sweet and tart accoutrement of homemade pickled fennel and fruit aigre-doux. In a country that is sheep-like in following the latest trends, where ricotta and frying cheeses are mainstream staples, this kind of craftsmanship sets the bar high for cheese lovers and opens up a world of ideas as to what else could be made locally while being respectful to its true authenticity.

Cheeseflo‘s domestically made cured meats (photo cred: Lee Kyung Sub)

Cheeseflo thoughtfully makes their own cured meats with just as much care as their cheeses. Berkshire pigs raised naturally on Jirisan are used to make their delicate yet flavorful culatello, staying true to the Italian skill by using the hind leg and wrapping it with the bladder. With a full menu of appetizers and main courses incorporating some of their best made ingredients, dining in is a pleasant experience. A small takeout display counter offers their cheeses and foods to go, and in time, cheese classes and seminars will be offered. Cheeseflo has the makings of becoming a great source for all things cheese in Seoul.

By Christine Cho (thepalatekorea@gmail.com)

Christine Cho, a Korean-American expat in Seoul, has been eating and cooking her way around the world for 16 years as a private chef. -- Ed.

Cheeseflo

Address:
Itaewon-ro 49 gil 19, 1F
Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Telephone:
(02) 794-7010