– Words by Devon Smith Photos by Don Denton
wine and cheese. Simple, isn’t it? But in practice, this classic French pair is often overwhelmed with too many rules and too many choices. The new bistro in town aims to de-complicate this classic combo by simply bringing friends together through food and drink.
Page Loten, co-owner of L’Apéro Wine & Cheese Bistro, said: “We’ve designed the experience to be as flexible as possible, so people can come and enjoy a small tasting, take home some wine and cheese, or dive into a more complex and varied tasting experience with a group. Friends. Here.” has something for everyone.”
The bistro, which opened in downtown Victoria last fall, is the brainchild of Paige and his business partner and co-owner, cheese expert Guillaume Kiefer.
After years of managing food and beverages in hotels and restaurants, Paige wanted to start a bistro where people could meet up with friends.
“During the pandemic, I realized how much we all miss aspects of getting together with friends, eating and enjoying wine. I wanted to be a part of that revival. But one thing was missing: I didn’t know enough about cheese,” he explains as he sits in the bright, modern space.
A mutual friend brought him together through his business, L’Apéro Experience, a mobile cheese service featuring cheese boards and seminars, with Guillaume, who shared all his knowledge and love of cheese. After partnering with Page and opening L’Apéro Wine & Cheese Bistro, Guillaume has found a permanent home that shares his passion.
The two acquired the space last summer and have worked on the renovation throughout the season. The Bistro is bright and spacious with tables downstairs and a loft area upstairs for regular dining during peak hours or for private events. A selection of cheeses are displayed in glass showcases, and the latest wine selections are displayed on the beautiful wall behind his front counter. The walls are decorated with local art by Victoria Helier, giving it a French feel. The rest of the decoration is clean and simple.
“We worked all summer to make sure everything was in order, but in the end, we had to bite the bullet open,” Page explains, before finally opening the door. Their decision to do so resulted in a moment of great coincidence, he added.
“I remember tearing the paper out of the window,” laughs Paige. “There was a couple standing right outside our door, just like us. It turns out that the couple was L’Apero’s first guest three years ago. We took it as a good omen. ”
After that soft opening, they’ve had a great response from customers, he added.
Of course, they both point out that they couldn’t have done it without the chef, kitchen staff and servers.
“We are very blessed with our staff. We are a very close-knit team and they are at the heart of what we do. They’re such a big part of the experience because we rely on them to deliver an experience that will last,” says Paige.
And at the heart of what they do is the theme of sharing and keeping it simple.
“There’s a reason we don’t have more wines on our menu, and a reason we keep our options simple,” Page explains. “We try to create friendly and easy lists so that everyone can share something and try different things. You don’t have to be a sommelier to know what you like.” We can make it easy by coming to a server and telling them what kind of wine they usually like to drink, and building the cheese tasting experience around that.”
And just because you’ve been to La Perro once or twice, don’t assume you’ve tried them all, adds Guillaume. A flexible menu provides guests with a unique experience on every visit.
“We always try to offer our customers new options,” he explains, pointing to the bistro’s extensive showcase. “Every time I order cheese, I try to bring something new, even if it’s new to me. That way, when my guests visit, I always have something new to try.”
In addition to the lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch menus served at the bistro, L’Apéro offers customizable online cheese boards, picnic boxes, vegan and dairy-free options, cheese from the counter, event catering and more. We offer a variety of options. , subscription boxes delivered to your door, and seminars like Cheese Tasting 101 and Wine and Cheese Pairing Parties.
“Our classes are always a fun experience because you get to really learn how wine pairings complement certain cheeses, why certain pairings complement each other, or why they don’t. Because we can,” adds Guillaume.
You can visit Guillaume and Paige at La Perrot Wine & Cheese Bistro, located at 1028 Rue Blanchard in downtown Victoria. Reservations are recommended on Friday and Saturday nights, and on nights when shows are held at the Royal Theatre.
To order online, visit laperobistro.net. Follow us on Instagram @aperobistro for the latest pairings and Fall 2022 class schedule.
Article courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a publication of Black Press Media
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