Monday, September 19, 2011

Village Cheese Shanty (Cheese Shack)

Nestled within Leland's historic Fishtown is a shack you can't afford to miss!

Award winning Leelanau County wines, over 60 imported and domestic cheeses, a grand selection of local brews, packed lunches for island hikes and fishing trips and more.  Yes, ladies and gents, you have entered the world of Fishtown's own Village Cheese Shanty!

Nautical decor and local food; a day out in Leland, MI does not get any better than this!

Fishtown is a historic fishing village located in the small town of Leland, MI on the Leelanau Peninsula.  Its shanties house some of the most eccentric, wonderful shops and foodie finds.  It oozes history and makes one feel as though they've stumbled off of the Mitten and landed on some northern New England coast in the midst of fishing lore.  The fresh air, the sound of the waves, the historic boats, the sweet little shacks and the ferry heading to Manitou, ferrying campers and hikers, all combine to make for a deliciously surreal experience. 

In the midst of all this wonder rests the Village Cheese Shanty.

Plenty of wine options abound for the avid picnic basket filler within us all.

The Shanty offers a wide array of goods, including wines from such fabled Leelanau vinters as Blackstar Farms, L. Mawby, Gills' Pier and beyond.

The beer selection is wonderful.  From Arcadia Ales to Bell's, Short's to varied other local lovelies, the lover of the hop is certain to be pleased by this selection.  Some are sold by the bottle, nice and cold.  Is it legal to take your single brew and sit at one of the dockside picnic tables and enjoy?  Who knows?  Who cares?  Just do it, blame it on Nike.

Even the chips are local at the Village Cheese Shanty is Leland, MI.

Despite the grand selection of local wonders: chips, cherry products, hot sauces...................

Life is nothing without dessert!

.........homemade desserts..........

A myriad of tasting experiences rests within this little case at the Village Cheese Shanty.

.........massive amounts of varied cheeses..............

For those of you that love a local brew, the Village Cheese Shanty in Leland, MI is the place to be!

........and, again, the beer, there is but one reason that locals and travellers alike flock to this tiny shanty on the dock:  The sandwiches.

The main attraction: sandwiches.

Completely homemade (including the bread, you MUST try the pretzel bread, best ever!), these sandwiches are of a wildly different form than any other sandwich that you have ever tasted.

Do not be afraid to ask the artists what you should try. 

When I asked the purveyor what form of meat and wheat I should partake in, she did not hesitate:

"Leelanau with turkey on pretzel bread."

I was in!  I ordered the selected sandy and was soon in crusty creation heaven!  My sandwich consisted of turkey (instead of roast beef), Leelanau peppercorn fromage blanc, onion, cucumber, lettuce, tomato and dijon mustard.  It was sublime!

El fresco doesn't get much better than it is in Leland, MI!

Now, I'll be the very first to admit that one's surroundings have a huge effect on whether or not one enjoys their meal.

My surroundings consisted of a crystal clear river, the smell and feel of the fresh, wide open out-of-doors (as my grandma once said), the sun, the amazing company and the surrounding Fishtown.  Would I of loved this sandwich as much were I eating it in Fulsom Prison?  Perhaps, who knows?  All I know now is that this was the perfect combination of ambiance and edible brilliance, a tour de force of awesome, if you will.  No restaurant in all the land, no matter how fine, could match what I was surrounded by at that moment.

Be sure to explore the other shacks of Fishtown!

Lastly, please notice that my can in the first sandwich pic is from Arcadia, not Pepsi.  I drank it at the river's edge, in full view and did not get ticketed.  That's proof enough of non-illegality for me!

(All photos by Brooks Vanderbush)

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