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Pound Ridge's Plum Plums is all About the Cheese

POUND RIDGE – The inventory of high-end, gourmet cheeses at Plum Plums Cheese Shop in Pound Ridge is prodigious, but how the store got its name may be even more interesting than anything on the shelves.

The little shop on Westchester Avenue, owned by Adam and Audrey Free, got its name from a somewhat obscure line in an Oscar-winning movie.

“My wife loves movies,” Adam Free said. “Her favorite movie is ‘The English Patient.’ There is a scene in the movie where the main character, played by Ralph Fiennes, is given a plum. When he takes a bite, he says, ‘That’s a plum plum.’ It basically means it’s a great plum.”

Despite the tenuous connection between the movie line, plums and cheese, Plum Plums has gotten off to an auspicious start since it opened its doors more than four years ago. In 2008, Westchester Magazine named it Best Cheese Store in Westchester County.

“We both work in the film business making commercials,” Free explained. “I’m an assistant director and she’s a script supervisor. But my wife was always interested in high-end gourmet foods and high-end cheeses. We always wanted to open a cheese shop, so when this space became available, we went for it.”

Plum Plums not only sells to the general public, but to area restaurants, including some in New Canaan, Conn., and Richard Gere’s establishment, the Bedford Post.

The store utilizes about three or four distributors to find its cheese and about 80 percent comes from Europe, while the rest is culled from local dairies.

“In Europe, they make cheese from raw milk (which means it has been pasteurized yet),” Free explained. “The U.S. is getting better and better [at making cheese], but we have a law against using raw milk.”

Free said some of the store’s most popular cheese include Swiss cheeses from Rolf Beeler (a renowned distributor), sheep’s milk cheeses from France, and triple cream brie cheeses that Free says are “so rich and thick it’s disgusting.”

Adding to the ambiance of the store is the display of artwork and photography from local artists. While the store is not involved in the sale of the paintings, Free said there is a waiting list of artists who want their work up on Plum Plums’ walls.

The store is also trying to expand a bit beyond cheeses by adding more dry goods. They also offer pasta, gourmet olive oils and vinegars.

“We like to sell things that pair well with cheese,” Free said. “Honey is a big thing. People like something sweet to contrast with the savory taste of the cheese. We also have figs and fig spreads.”

But no plums just yet.

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