by TRISH RUDDER
The Fleur de Lis Cheese Shop has a wide variety of imported and domestic cheeses plus a little bit of everything to dazzle the taste buds, from wild game meats, fine wines, gourmet chocolates and “on-the-go” desserts. The shop opened in May.
Owner Regina Aamacha, who goes by “Regina,” resided in Berkeley Springs in the early 1980 after moving from the D.C. area. She performed as a musician in area restaurants back then and still performs.
While visiting her shop last week, Regina said she left Berkeley Springs in the 1990s and from 1992 to April 2018 she worked as a musician in France and all over the United States, mainly on the east and west coasts.
“Chefs love musicians,” she said, and “I learned to be spoiled by great food.”
“A chef taught me about cheese. I worked for free and learned about cheese from cows, sheep or goats and their country of origin. I had maps to study different regions and how cheese is made.”
In a Rehoboth Beach, Del. cheese shop, Regina said she worked as a musician at night and learned about cheese during the day.
“I sang for cheese,” she said.
Her small shop is decorated like a shop in Paris might be, with paintings on the walls and assorted antique cabinets and tables displaying her wares.
She said her cheese and wine shop in Clearwater, Fla. from 2008 until this spring was decorated with the same contents.
The family always maintained a house here, so the decision to move back to Berkeley Springs was an easy one.
“Everything was already in place, and I just needed a shop.”
Local baker Genesee Bondurant, who is known for her birthday cakes, assists Regina in the shop. While talking with Regina, Bondurant waited on out-of-town visitors, Mark and Donna Van Scyoc who sampled the imported Gouda displayed on the counter. It is a customer favorite, she said.
The shop sells about 80 pounds of cheese a week, Regina said, and she works with local farms and with cheese importers that air-ship cheese from France, Italy, Amsterdam, Switzerland and Spain as well as cheese from Quebec.
She drives eight hours to pick up her order to restock, she said.
Artisan breads were available as well as a display of local produce from Smokey Bend Farms of Berkeley Springs.
Regina sells her products wholesale to restaurants, retail to customers and does catering for smaller events.
She also offers a cheese class on Fridays; a cheese platter design class on Saturdays and a wine and a cheese paring class on Sundays, all between 1-4 p.m. Classes are by reservation only. Phone 727-742-8333.
The Fleur de Lis Cheese Shop at 15 Fairfax Street is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.