So, it’s quite clear to the loyal readers of this blog, that each of the three clever sisters has carved out her typical foods and hobbies. Sara, for example, often makes the more gourmet recipes of the bunch, whereas mine tend to be on the meat-free (shocking, I know) and quick & easy variety, not to mention those that store well for meals during the week. A good part of my excuse for not venturing too far from the simple is that, living in Southern Oregon, I don’t have the many options in terms of gourmet-friendly ingredients. Fred Meyer and Safeway have the basics and even the “Natural” section of Food For Less has some surprises, but if I’m looking for specialty olive oil or premium cheese, I’m just out of luck.
Well, no more. This weekend I travelled the exceedingly far distance of 5 miles from Medford. To big cities this distance would qualify the community of Jacksonville as a suburb or even a distinct neighborhood of the larger, booming metropolis. Not so much here. Jacksonville was here first, and it has survived by claiming that and registering it with the National Historic Register.
My friend Maren and I found the Jacksonville Mercantile.
I was immediately reminded the up-scale Dean & Deluca on M Street in Georgetown from my college days. There were several types of olive oils to sample, a selection of lovely cheeses (including Rogue Creamery Blue cheese — the ONLY blue cheese I’ve ever enjoyed!), and truffles from the local chocolatiers and Switzerland. Maren and I enjoyed those immediately. Maren had some tea-infused confection while I opted for the cardomom. Wow. Heavenly.
The store is in an old warehouse on the main street of Jacksonville so it has the quaintness that the community has capitalized but it does a good job about blending old with new so it isn’t kitchy or obnoxiously touristy. The owners are not dressed in clothing from Jacksonville’s gold mining hey-day, for example.
The owners (Connie & David) aren’t born and raised in the Rogue Valley but have embraced it, heartily. This means, they know even more of the good things to bring into the area. AND, even better – Connie is a graduate of one of the Cordon Bleu culinary schools and sends out emails of free recipes!!! I can’t promise that I can replicate them, but they may give me some good ideas. Now, if only they could start up some fun cooking classes…