Looking at your watch could very well get you kicked out of John Raymond’s cheese shop. So don’t do it.

Instead, kick back and settle in for a leisurely tasting while the quirky Glen Ellen cheese monger walks you through his collection of rare, artisanal cheeses–many of them from California–one by one. If you’re lucky, a little group will gather ’round the marble cutting board and you’ll be regaled with more cheese knowledge than you can possibly process. Not to mention plenty of tastes. If you’re lucky.

Because if you’re not paying attention, Raymond won’t hesitate to ask you to move aside for someone more pleasured by an aged wheel of goat cheese. And believe me, that’s not a spot you want to give up.

Raymond is just one of a collection of food and wine purveyors making a go of it in the quiet Glen Ellen outpost of Jack London Village. Though the remote-ish, hill-hugging shopping center has long-struggled to keep tenants, the current crop, which includes Raymond & Co. Cheesemongers, the new café/marketplace Olive & Vine, Wine Country Chocolate & Truffles and a new wine bar and bistro finally feels like a destination.

If you go: Don’t miss the panini sandwiches at Olive & Vine. The marketplace (which also serves as home base for their catering company) offers up a daily variety of scrumptious salads, pizzas and soups, but the grilled pork loin sandwich with apple slaw, melty cheese and grainy mustard was a little slice of heaven on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Top off your tasting fun next door with a wine-infused chocolate truffle (and sneak a peek while they’re being made). Across the street, check out more wine tasting and a variety of oils and vinegars from Sonoma County.

Jack London Village, 14301 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen
– Raymond & Co. Cheesemongers, 707.938.9911
– Olive & Vine, 707.966.9150
– Wine Country Chocolate & Truffles, 707.996.1010