The Cheese Board Collective

So after my romp around Cal, I made arrangements to meet up with my neighborhood mom pal, bookgroup compadre, and friend, Ariele. Okay, let me start of by giving you some amazing background about Ariele.
  • She's sharp as a tack funny and smarter than most everyone I know.
  • She grew up in Berkeley going to a hippy dippy school across the street from where her dad started Berkeley Free Clinic.
  • For many years she was a HS Math teacher providing progressive education to some of the most depressed schools in California. She speaks of her old students with nothing but heartfelt love and admiration, and she has an innate understanding of teenagers few can fathom.
  • She's a true, blue friend. And for the life of me, I couldn't imagine my first visit to Berkley without her!
So we met up at The Cheese Board Collective, she with her two boys and me with mine. After the greetings we got down to business. Ariele promptly handed me a shopping bag (she came prepared!), grabbed us a playing card, and started piling her arms full of the most amazing looking pastries and breads I've ever laid eyes on. CBC make all their own baked goods on site, and there is a constant overturn of hot crusty goodness every few hours. The cases also had a wide variety of olives, French and local honeys, and other noshes. Since CBC is a co-op they take their cheese very seriously. It is mandatory that you "try before you buy" so when our card was called we spent the next 30 minutes trying every cheese known to man...and then some! You wanna try a cheddar? Well they have like 20 different varieties of varying sharpness, some with chives, some without, some white, some yellow. Wanna brie? How about a stinky one? How about a blue that's creamy? How about a crumbly blue that's slightly different in texture, but very different in taste? It went on and on like this. I was starting to get scared...the wrapped packages of cut cheeses were piling up, and it didn't look like we had any sign of stopping soon. Ariele assured me it was all good, and kept on ordering. Finally, when the tally was rung up I balked...it coudln't be that cheap! So I added another three selections to top it off. We weren't allowed to tip the proprietors, but they said we could donate to the homeless initiative they support instead. After this, we stopped next door to the produce co-op and bought some fruit and berries. Then again next door to the Cheese Board Pizza. There was a live jazz duet playing while we waited in line to grab a few slices of the daily offering. Finally, we took all the kids by the hand and walked a half block up to a fenced in park. We found a big tree and set to work on our impromptu picnic.

I can't imagine a better first trip to Berkeley, and I'll be back soon for sure.

Walk from Cal to the Cheese Board.

That's a LOT of cheese.

If you pull the Joker you get to skip to the head of the line.

Freshly baked bread...and it was hot, too!

Weird ass cow bread god?

Cheese, glorious cheese!

Our cheese pile...we're about halfway done at this point.

Best pizza I've had in a long time! Zucchini, red onion, feta, with pesto and pignoli nuts.

Don't I look manically happy?

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