It is clear from the names of 109 Cheese & Wine in Ridgefield and its sister shop, 109 Cheese Market in Kent, that these are good places for cheese. Indeed, more than 125 farm-made varieties are offered. Less clear, at least from the exteriors of both shops, is that they are also great places to grab lunch and even dinner with an assortment of sandwiches, soups, breads and more than 30 charcuterie options.
Particularly crave-inducing are the grilled cheese and Parisian sandwiches. The grilled cheese is made with a house-ground mix including specially selected gruyère and cheddar, and there is an option to add toppings such as prosciutto and freshly sliced or roasted tomatoes. The Parisian is a prosciutto- and arugula-powered sandwich executed to perfection here on a French baguette.
Other favorites are the soup, mac and cheese and the shop’s frozen baguettes, which taste so good once thawed it is hard to believe they ever saw the inside of a freezer.
Owned by couple Monica and Todd Brown, the two shops are worth seeking out. Opened 10 years ago, the Ridgefield shop is a large storefront that includes a wine store and offers pottery and cooking items alongside other gifts. The Kent location opened 3½ years ago. Much smaller, it was nestled into a storefront on Kent’s main thoroughfare, but has moved to a larger temporary spot just off the main drag. It will settle into a permanent location back on Main Street that will be bigger and more like its Ridgefield counterpart. It is also expected to offer wine by the glass and added seating.
Each morning the Browns leave their Sherman home, Todd heading to Ridgefield and Monica to Kent. While Todd acknowledges some couples might cringe at the thought of running a business together, he says, “Monica and I love what we do, and I think that we share the passion for the food and the wine and the gourmet products and the cookware and the pottery.”
A particular passion for the couple is finding foods that complement one another. “We’re all about food pairing,” Todd says. “What makes us really excited is when we find that perfect wine with the perfect cheese and the perfect food and the perfect dinner and it all comes together, and you have this wonderful marriage.”