The San Diego food community lost a dear friend a week ago. George Palmer, owner with his wife Mary of TasteCheese, passed away after a tough illness. Those of us who were his friends are still in shock. Mary has been amazingly strong throughout, doing everything in her power to will him back to good health and then letting him go when the unthinkable time finally came--all while working hard at her farmers market booths with a good cheer that masked what she's been enduring.
Yesterday, Mary's weekly newsletter talked about the cheeses George loved the most--stinky French Epoisses, freshly cut Parmigiano Reggiano, Acapella, Tomme Dolce and Minuet. These choices don't surprise me. George was a true epicure, a master of cheeses, as well as wines and beers. Want to have a passionate discussion on olive oils or balsamic vinegars? George was your guy. In the days when they owned their shop on University in Hillcrest, I'd go in to chat and nibble so George could teach me about the latest new cheese they got in or their latest salt or other condiment they had discovered at a trade show. George and Mary introduced me to saba, truffle salt, Knight Salumi, and fennel pollen--not to mention a host of artisan cheeses I adore.
George was a smart, sweet, funny, witty man with a booming deep voice to match his astounding height. He was truly a man of taste--but thoroughly unpretentious about it. He just wanted others to enjoy what he was so utterly tickled by. I'm glad I got to know him and that he became my friend. I will miss him terribly.
Now it's time to celebrate his life and support Mary as she continues on with her life and her business. Stop by the TasteCheese booth at the Little Italy Mercato, Adams Ave., North Park, and Hillcrest farmers markets. Ask Mary if you can try George's favorite cheeses and then buy some and enjoy it with a great glass of wine or beer to have your own celebration of what George loved so much.