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Food Matters: Austin's newest cheese shop; Callie Speer leaves Parkside to start cake company; Sugar Mama's offering breakfast

Staff Writer
Austin 360
John and Kendall Antonelli, owners of the new Antonelli's, offer a knowledge of cheese gained from traveling Europe and learning cheesemaking.

HEADLINE: none JUMP: none CAPTION: Deborah Cannon American-Statesman

John and Kendall Antonelli, owners of the new Antonelli's, offer a knowledge of cheese gained from traveling Europe and learning cheesemaking.

Larry Kolvoord American-Statesman

Married pastry chefs Callie and Philip Speer have begun Cakemix.

Jake Holt

Cakemix makes creative cakes for special occasions using many local ingredients.

Addie Broyles American-Statesman

LABEL/OTHER: FOODMATTERS

QUICKREAD: none

Offering all things cheese and its accoutrements

John and Kendall Antonelli know that Antonelli's Cheese Shop, their artisan cheese store in Hyde Park that opened last week, won't have the biggest cheese selection in town - after all, the overflowing cheese counters at Central Market and Whole Foods are not far from their Hyde Park location - but they are hoping to offer cheese lovers a more intimate cheese-buying experience.

The couple knows exactly how it feels to stand in front of hundreds of exotic-sounding cheeses and not know where to start. Three years ago, John was a certified public accountant and Kendall was working for a nonprofit organization. They loved to eat cheese, but mainly, they wanted to start a business where they could work together. On their honeymoon, John had an idea: What about starting a cheese business? Without hesitation, Kendall agreed.

They've spent the past two years learning everything they could about cheese, including what it takes to start a small-scale store. They visited Europe and followed the "fromage" signs on the side of the road to find cheesemakers who would become their teachers. John even interned in the caves of rural France to discover how terroir affects aging cheese.

In addition to between 75 and 100 different cheeses, the Antonellis also are selling wine, charcuterie, crackers, chocolate, olives and other foods that you'd need for a cheese-tasting party at your house. You'll also find several Texas cheeses, including those from CKC Farms, Veldhuizen, Brazos Valley and Pola.

After they get their legs under them, the Antonellis hope to start guided tastings and classes on Thursday nights to help customers learn more about the complex world of cheese. "The thing with cheese is education. Teaching people about cheese and letting them try it before they buy it is so important," John Antonelli said. "Telling people about the story behind the cheese and what makes it so special. That's what we wanted to do."

(4220 Duval St. 531-9610, www.antonellischeese.com. Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.)

- Addie Broyles

Food Briefs

• Cupcakes and cookie bars aren't exactly considered a breakfast of champions, so Sugar Mama's Bakeshop (1905 S. First St. 243-8715, www.sugarmamasbakeshop.com) is testing the breakfast waters by offering scones, brioche cinnamon rolls, pound cake and buckles, which are like streusel-topped muffins. For the next month, the bakery will open at 7 a.m. instead of noon, which means you can grab a cinnamon-pecan scone and coffee while picking up a dozen cupcakes for your colleague's birthday at work. Owner Olivia O'Neal says she'll decide in March whether to make breakfast a permanent offering.

• After years of lobbying by longtime member, past president and Austinite Cathy Cochran-Lewis, the International Association of Culinary Professionals announced last week that it will host its 2011 annual conference in Austin that June. The conference is where the world's largest organization of culinary professionals will hand out its prestigious cookbook awards for that year.

• As part of an ongoing serious of free lectures about the foodways of Mexico, historian Rachel Laudan will explore how the Lebanese, French, Germans, Italians, Africans, English, Chinese and Japanese have influenced Mexican cuisine. At 6 p.m. Thursday, she'll give a presentation called "Transplanted Cuisines: Migrants in the Making of Mexican Cuisine" in the AT&T Education Room at the Long Center for the Performing Arts.

- A.B.

Openings, closings and coming soon

• Open: Lick It, Bite It or Both, a cupcake and ice cream shop at 11101 Burnet Road, Suite 140A. 835-2684, www.lickitbiteitorboth.com

• Open: The MoJoe Room Bar & Grill, a Creole restaurant, sports bar and dance club at 6406 N. Interstate 35, Suite 1600. 206-4110, www.mojoeroom.com.

• Open: Kebabalicious, a second location of the late-night Turkish kebab and falafel trailer, this one open for lunch Tuesdays through Fridays at Second Street and Congress Avenue. www.austinkebab.com.

• Open: Frietkot , a trailer specializing in Belgian-style fries and dipping sauces at the corner of Seventh and Neches streets.

• Opening Thursday: Freebirds, a Round Rock location of the build-your-own burrito restaurant at 200 University Blvd. Suite 200. 904-0070, www.freebirds.com.

• Closed: Red Robin, the gourmet burger restaurant at 13301 N. U.S. 183.

- A.B., Mike Sutter

From Parkside to cake company for chef

Pastry chefs Callie and Philip Speer have created desserts for Austin's best restaurants, including most recently Uchi (Philip) and Parkside (Callie). A few months ago, Callie Speer left her post at Parkside to start a custom cake company called Cakemix. Phillip Speer is still at Uchi, but he's also part of the new business, which aims to help people create virtually anything in a cake form for special occasions. They recently made a sparkling white glove cake for a Michael Jackson-themed '80s party, but they also come up with inventive creations for weddings and birthday parties. Many ingredients come from local artisans and farmers, and the cakes can be vegan and gluten-free. 436-9490, www.cakemixaustin.com.

- A.B.