Moon shaped, star shaped, soft like cushions (ever heard of marshmallow cheese? Didn’t think so…), hard like treasure chests, cheese with berries, cheese with mushrooms and truffle oil, made from cow’s, goat, camel or sheep milk can all be found in this cosy neighbourhood deli owned by Gino.
Gino is a friendly Italian man who travels far and wide to bring his customers the best and the smelliest cheese that the world can offer.
Gino’s deli is a favourite with cheese lovers of all shapes and sizes.
This is where Penny, a stylish young city mouse first met Pippa.
Pippa is a plump suburban mum who hasn’t left the suburbs since laying down her nest nearly a decade ago. Her favourite thing in the world is to discover the best cheeses to take home to her husband and two little mouse-lings.
Thankfully, Gino’s deli is tucked away in her neighbourhood.
These days Gino’s is taken over by the hip urban types. They scoff at the locals who lack style (but make up for it with substance, particularly around their hips).
‘Hey get off my cheese!’ Penny yelled at Pippa who had her plump paws secured around a dried up piece of Swiss cheese on the floor.
‘Excuse me, but who are you?’ Pippa stared Penny up and down, mentally taking in her beautiful green dress, revealing two shapely, gym-sculpted and spray-tanned legs and the vibrant colour matching her bejewelled high heels.
‘Penny, that’s who. Now out of my way, grandma!’ Penny pushed Pippa to the side.
‘I see you’re in a hurry. I’m happy to let you have this piece but can you help me with something?’
Penny knocked Pippa off the cheese and got ready to take off with it.
‘What if I told you I know how we can get more cheese than either of us would know what to do with?’
Penny stopped on her tracks.
‘You see, up there on top of the shelves there are cheeses of all kinds.’ Pippa pointed up.
‘I can’t see what’s up there. Why should I believe you?’ Penny crossed her arms.
‘I was once told by a very old and wise mouse that’s where Gino keeps the top shelf stuff. Here, you see that cord?’
Pippa pointed at the power cord of the sandwich press sitting on a table next to the shelves.
‘You look like you you put in some time at the gym. Why not climb up and look for yourself?’
Penny was already working out in her head how to get up to the shelves.
With a big jump she climbed up the cord.
What Penny saw up there was as breathtaking to her mouse self as a golden city would be for us humans.
Sitting on top of the shelf was all the cheese she could’ve ever wanted. Big wheels of Swiss cheese, creamy Bries, white, yellow, green, brown, orange and red – glorious fermented milk in all shapes and colours.
She could spend all day feasting on the cheese just by herself.
Then Pippa heard the deli door swing open with bells announcing a group of customers who spilled into the tiny deli. They were heading towards the top shelf cheeses where Penny was sitting mesmerised by the grandeur of the cheese palace ahead of her.
‘Hey! Get down! People!’ Pippa shouted at Penny and started shaking the cord to get her attention.
Before she could be spotted, Penny snapped out of her daze and hurriedly climbed down the cord.
‘What’s the plan?’ she asked Pippa, short of breath.
‘Seeing that you’re quick on your feet, you’d be best suited to go up there and cut pieces off with your sharp teeth. Then throw the pieces down.’ Pippa then pointed to a little hole in the corner of the deli.
‘I will carry the pieces to that little hole and we can then share the cheese. Does that sound fair?’
‘How do I know you’re not gonna eat all the cheese by yourself?’ Penny’s motto was trust no mouse, especially the ones that had extra meat on their bones.
‘You’ll just have to trust me. If we pull this off, we will end up with yummy cheese and not dried up scraps on the floor.’ Pippa smiled looking deep into Penny’s fake eyelashes.
They waited for the human customers to leave. Just as the group of huans left, a bumbling old man came in through the door.
‘Don’t worry about Max, he’s blinf asa bat’ Pippa said.
Penny climbed up and started cutting off pieces of her favourite cheese with her sharp teeth.
She was sneaking around the pieces so quickly that she was not visible to the normal human eye, let alone Old Max’s nearsighted, blurred vision.
After cutting large pieces off truffle infused cheese, several type of Brie, double and triple cream, Camambert, Swiss cheese and Edam and throwing them down to Pippa, she climbed down.
…But Pippa and the cheeses were nowhere in sight!
Then she saw the little mouse hole in the corner.
Penny ran into the hole, she saw Pippa guarding the cheese underneath her big arms, stretched like wings over the cheeses.
‘Hey how did you carry all that so quickly?’ she started to ask as Pippa flexed her biceps showig off huge mountains of muscle. Clearly she too put time in the gym.
‘Well done, Penny. Now can I cut you a piece of Swiss cheese?’ Pippa asked politely.
‘Yes, that’s my favourite’ Penny smiled at Pippa.
Pippa gave Penny half of a generous chunk of Swiss cheese. She held her piece out and clinked it to Penny’s.
‘Here’s to us!’ Pippa looked and Penny with a jovial smile playing on her lips.
‘This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship’ Penny toasted Pippa.
That piece of Swiss cheese Penny and Pippa shared was the best cheese they’d ever tasted in their lives.