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Georgia cheeses come of age at Star Provisions

Locavore holiday giving guide: 2012 edition

If you’re still trying to figure out what to bring to that holiday party this weekend, or what to give your Aunt Mabel for Christmas, Tim Gaddis might be able to help.

Star Provisions’ cheesemonger knows just what you need: An assortment of locally made cheese.

Don’t worry, you won’t be limited to a plastic container of chevre and a blob of mozzarella (as tasty as those offerings can be). Georgia’s cheese scene has matured into a more complex assortment of flavors and styles.

I’m sorry, was that description kind of cheesy? It’s hard not to wax rhapsodic when Georgia cheese makers are creating tommes and blues, edams and goudas, cheddars and cotswolds. It’s a safe bet that Gaddis carries a bigger selection of them than anyone else.

“I try to concentrate on Southern cheeses in general,” says Gaddis, who’s quick to point out that The Cheese Shop at Star Provisions also carries a full complement of European cheeses. “I like to be able to get cheeses when I can drive over to the farm and make cheese with the cheese maker and pick the cheeses I like, from the batches I like.”

Especially hot right now is Nature’s Harmony Farm’s Fortsonia, a gruyere-style cheese produced in Elberton. “That’s the one that everyone is talking about,” says Gaddis, who actually helped cheese maker Tim Young decide, a couple of years ago, to give the Fortsonia try. “Gruyeres and cheddars, those are two things that just [weren’t] on the Southeast cheese market,” he says.

Young confirmed last week that Star Provisions would soon receive the final 50 pounds of Fortsonia that will be available until the next batch is released in May.

Stop by Star Provisions, and Gaddis, aka "Tim the Cheese Man," will help you select local cheeses for a holiday cheese plate or a special gift. Or you can sign up for the shop’s cheese of the month club. “What makes it different from others is, it’s all Southern,” Gaddis explains. The three-month option is $200; six months is $375; a full year costs $775. Pick up each month’s selection (about 1 ½ pounds of cheese plus accoutrements) at the shop, or have it shipped for $15.95.

Visit Star Provisions’ at 1198 Howell Mill Road NW, or calling Gaddis at 404-365-0410, extension 132. The store does not sell cheese or the monthly club online.