February 21 2006, 10:00 PM
Say it isn't so...Last week Bingham Hill Cheese Company, a micro-cheesery in Fort Collins closed its doors after six years. The cheesery produced Rustic Blue, Poudre Puff, Angle Feat, and our favorite, Harvest Moon, and had won 10 medals at the 2005 London-based World Cheese Awards (for the record, that's more than any other American producer). But when California-based Trader Joe's, a specialty food chain that represented half of Bingham's annual income, stopped carrying the handcrafted cheeses, accolades weren't enough to keep the company afloat. Now, instead of selling cheeses, Bingham's website is a clearinghouse with conveyer belts, digital scales, paper towel dispenserseverythingfor sale. Sadder still is that on March 1, Bingham Hill's brand, packaging, products, recipes, and technical expertise go on the E-Bay auction block. "We would like to see it to stay in-state," says owner Tom Johnson, though he acknowledges there's interest on many levels from "individuals who want to start something new to established food brands looking to diversify." Here's hoping the cheesery stays local. For more information logon to www.binghamhill.com or call Tom Johnson at 970-215-3459. Ain't no KFC...Thanks to Denver native Jesse Carey, the shuttered Kapre Fried Chicken in Five Points reopened as Stage II Fried Chicken at the end of 2005. Once inside the dark, slightly rough-around-the-edges chicken haven, order a two-piece or four-piece chicken dinner, or crispy chicken strips and a host of down-home sides such as fried okra, green beans, and creamy potato salad. With a spicy and not-too-greasy scald and succulent meat on the inside, this is Southern fried chicken at its best. And if you're in the mood for some Southern sweetness, Stage II bakes one fine sweet potato pie. 2729 Welton St., 303-297-1805. Taste of Torino (take 2)...Barolo Grill is showing its Olympic spirit by offering a Menu d'Olimpici through February 25. This four-course tasting menu honors the town of Barolo, which is this close to Torino. The meal includes a salad or Gorgonzola soufflé (we loved the insalata with dried mushrooms and figs, crispy leeks and arugula), a pasta course with either sage-brown-butter sauce or truffles (both were divine), red-wine braised short ribs, and a light vanilla panna cotta with blood-orange sauce. The bonus: Dinner for two costs $65. Opt for the wine pairings and add $20 per persona steal for four glasses of wine, including a velvety Barbera and effervescent Moscato di Langhe. Word of these dealio dinners is traveling fast; we suggest calling soon. 3030 Sixth Ave., 303-393-1040.