Southern Oregon’s Artisan’s Corridor is the ultimate wine, cheese, bread and chocolate destination
If you’ve ever said, “I’d be happy living on nothing but chocolate, cheese, bread and wine,” then Artisan’s Corridor in Central Point, Oregon, is the ultimate location to shop for your sustenance. (Admit it — you’ve, at least, thought it! We all have!) The four side-by-side businesses that make up the corridor in Rogue Valley — Rogue Creamery, Coquette Bakery, The Rogue Grape and Lillie Belle Farms — will keep you full and happy.
The Rogue Grape bottle shop and wine bar is stocked with the best wines (plus beer and cider) that Southern Oregon has to offer. Start and end your visit there. Stop off before visiting the other shops for a wine flight of four wines from the region. Then, return later in the day to buy bottles that will pair with your bakery goodies, chocolate and cheese purchases.
To start you off right, below are a few pairing suggestions that are perfect for the delicacies you will find in the Artisan’s Corridor. Some of the wines can be found at The Rogue Grape, while others can be found at the wineries themselves.
When you step into Lillie Belle Farms, where chocolatier Jeff Sheppard has made exotic caramels, luxury truffles and bean-to-bar chocolate bars for two decades, the aroma instantly lets you know this is quality chocolate. Here are two indulgent pairings:
- Stella Blue chocolate bar, a dark milk chocolate made with Rogue Creamery’s Powdered Blue Heaven Cheese, paired with Cliff Creek Cellars Merlot.
- Oregon’s Flying Big Bar, a milk chocolate bar with bacon caramelized in maple syrup and a dash of smoked salt, paired with Quady North Mae’s Vineyard Syrah.
At Coquette Bakery, the European-inspired bread and pastries are made daily at the owner’s farm and brought fresh to the store. Get there before 2 p.m. or the bakery will be closed. Of course, earlier is better because many of their baked goods — from pastries to bread to cookies — sell out. They also make savory quiche and baguette sandwiches that are wine-pairing worthy.
- The classic Quiche Lorraine deserves to be paired with another classic: sparkling wine such as Irvine & Roberts Vineyards 2018 Brut Cuvée Sparkling Wine, the winery’s inaugural traditional-method bubbly.
- Both the ham and butter baguette, and the brie, turkey and fig/onion jam baguette will pair nicely with Awen Winecraft Sangiovese. The 2Hawk Vineyard and Winery Darrow Series Malbec will hold up well to the “roast beast” baguette.
Rogue Creamery makes the celebrated Rogue River Blue. The cheese was named the World’s Best Cheese at the 2019 World Cheese Awards in Italy. And last year, when France’s President Emmanuel Macron and his wife visited the White House for a state dinner, they were served Rogue River Blue. While it’s the organic creamery’s most famous cheese, they make a large variety of cheese from their dairy cows. Needless to say, wine-and-cheese is the most time-honored pairing of all – here are two great matches.
- Pair the celebrated Rogue River Blue that’s wrapped in biodynamic Syrah grape leaves soaked in pear spirits with the semi-sweet Hummingbird Estate Late Harvest Chardonnay.
- The Chocolate Stout Cheddar is made with Hopworks Urban Brewery’s certified organic chocolate stout. Try it with Wooldridge Creek Winery’s Pinot Noir.