At Whit’s End: Finding new flavor in Eastern Market

It should come as no surprise to people who know me what this column is about: cheese. To those of you who don’t know me, let me just clear something up – I love cheese. Not like a, “No Strings Attached,” you’re-around-so-I-guess-you’ll-do kind of love. More of a “Brokeback Mountain,” “I wish I knew how to quit you” kind of love.

I love cheese so much my fridge has an entire drawer devoted to it. And I crave it – constantly. And I mean, full-on, “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle” kind of craving. I crave cheese more than James Franco was craving some munchies during the Oscars. So, knowing all of this, it should come as no surprise what a valuable find Bowers Fancy Dairy Products in Eastern Market was.

Nestled near the glass cases that make up other shops in Eastern Market’s South Hall, Bowers is a family owned and operated business that has been keeping the District’s cheese lovers happy since 1964. It offers a variety of cheeses, from the familiar to the lesser-known, and includes imported cheeses from England and France.

Behind the counter men who call me “youngster” and insist that you try everything before you buy it dole out thick blocks of cheese wrapped in plastic and tucked into brown paper bags and make suggestions to confused men who ask for “just something soft.”

My most recent find was a herb and garlic-crusted brie, and my usual purchase – despite once being told this is the “white bread of cheeses” – was a plane Jane block of havarti. I steer clear of the speckled blue and the hard Gouda, but it’s a matter of personal taste.

But keep in mind that much like the ending of “Brokeback Mountain,” this kind of addictive love can have consequences – most notably an expanding waistline and a possible increase of cheese-driven happy hours. Some of the cheeses pair great with a two-buck chuck, all I’m saying.

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