A Touch of the Euro at Charelli’s Cheese Shop, Delicatessen & Catering

Charelli’s Cheese Shop,
Delicatessen & Catering
2851 Foul Bay Rd
Victoria, BC 

Hours: Tues to Sat 10am–3pm
Phone: (250) 598-4794

Just why I haven’t been to this deli in the past, when I was studying Applied Communications (now Digital Communications) at Camosun College’s Lansdowne Campus simply boiled down to time. A fit person could race down the hill and hike back up it when there’s an hour to kill between classes, but I’m the roly-poly type who may not achieve it. Plus, I want to enjoy my lunch more than to scarf it down before resuming my work in the a/v edit suite or be in class. Eating during session is obviously discouraged.

This operation opened back in 2003, and I’ve been aware of it for a long time. I needed a proper reason (other than being hungry) to head down, and when I heard they sold truffle oil flavoured potato chips–I was there faster than a bee to a spring flower!

Prior to the pandemic, one can browse this cheese shop and sit for a spell. These days, when you arrive, the service is like a drive-through. You gotta know what they have, or have it preordered through their website and you can pick up.

This place is truly a delicatessen in the European sense of the word, where “delicatessen” means high-quality foods–as written on their website and something that I’m glad this locally owned operation prides itself on.

While fellow students who’ve been down here over the years and raved about, I wanted to bide my time and oh boy, when the right craving was there–the ham, bacon, macaroni and cheese sandwich certainly hit all the right notes. When freshly grilled, the in-house made bread had the right soft crunch. The mozzarella cheese was sublime, and the bacon wasn’t overdone where its flavour would overtake. Instead, it’s the sweet ham, just two slices, which helped balance the taste out. As with other similar operations, they offer the staples for the hungry student. They have a tasty range of sandwiches and wraps.

Locals praised this place for decades before I finally headed down. The deal was with the said potato chips, and as far as truffles are concerned–the mushroom–they are the perfect place to stop for varied goods. From foie gras, exotic flavouring oils to caviar, they have what I used to get in Pike Place Market too (although a different brand). Some of their products are available for local mail order and delivery too, but it’s best to contact them to find out what can be shipped out of the city.

I miss visiting La Buona Tavola (now known as Truffle Queen) in Seattle. Now I don’t have to worry, as this operation is the perfect replacement!

5 Blokes out of 5

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