Living Well in Litchfield County, Connecticut

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A Fish and Cheese Shop Cohabitate

A Fish and Cheese Shop Cohabitate

Curds of Love

By Michelle Madden

Photos by Ryan Lavine

 Look for the old factory, around the back, keep going, up the fire escape, second floor, and you’ll find it. To the Gills (the fish shop) and New Curds on the Block (the cheese shop) share a bright, lofty space, so tucked away that you’re sure you’re the first to discover it. (You’re not).

Fish and cheese are not known to “go together” but when the fishmonger falls in love with the cheesemonger, what do you expect. Zachary Redin and Kate Truini worked at neighboring shops in Greenwich and soon discovered many shared loves­­. As Redin admits, “I found myself going in and buying a lot of cheese I didn’t want.”

What distinguishes Redin and Truini is their devotion to transparency. “Would you like to see what the salmon eat?” Redin walks over with a bottle of brown pellets (from ground-up plants and fish) and pours them into my hand––like a sommelier pouring wine into your glass to smell. “The question should not be––is wild better than farmed? Farmed salmon can be equally nutritious if it’s farmed sustainably.” Redin’s are farmed on the Faroe Islands, halfway between Iceland and Norway, and kept on ice (never frozen) for the voyage to America. He taught me about pen density (lower is better), corn-free feed (good), and red dyes in feed (bad). Turns out devotion to quality, though, is at odds with a good night’s sleep. “I apologize if I seem tired,” Redin said, lifting a 12-pound salmon by the tail. “I’ve been up since 1 am to get to the fish market.” He does this weekly.

 Two feet from Redin’s counter is Truini’s. She is a self-proclaimed “taste diagnostician.” If you tell her you love Parmesan, you may walk out with Moosalamoo from Blue Ledge Farm. All her cheeses are from the Northeast, and her goal is to open your mind to new ones. “In Europe, cheese is part of daily life,” Truini explains. “It’s not just for special occasions. If a hard cheese blooms [“gets moldy” in non-cheese speak] just scrape it off. Cheese is mold!” Truini declares.

Connoisseurship is a cornerstone of Truini’s mission. “You want to eat cheese at ‘peak deliciousness,’” she says, squeezing rounds of High Lawn Queen, a semi-soft cheese from High Lawn Farm, to see whether they’re soft enough or need time to ripen. “My personal favorite,” Truini muses, after being pressed to choose a favorite child: “I’d have to go with Ewe’s Blue, a young sheep’s-milk cheese from Old Chatham Creamery. It really should be a controlled substance.”

When you spend time with Redin and Truini you can’t imagine their businesses––not to mention their lives––not coexisting. They’re the kind of people you’d hope would drive by if your car ran out of gas. They also share a keen sense of humor: A sign on an emergency exit shows a mouse holding a flag with a diamond ring on it, which Truini drew on the one-year anniversary of their shop, and the day they got engaged.

 The wedding is this summer.

 tothegillsseafood.com

(203) 940-3528

newcurdsontheblock.com

(203) 318-4520

900 Main St., Watertown, and the Farmers Market in Washington Depot (Saturdays)

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