‘Winning Women’: Foodie Rebecca Gouttenoire

Rebecca Gouttenoire (photo by Michela Tambasco)

Formaggioteca Terroir is a cheese and wine shop specializing in French and Italian products that debuted during the pandemic. The shop is run by Rebecca Christophersen Gouttenoire and her husband, Pierre Gouttenoire, and has a warm and homey ambiance, something that can be attributed to Rebecca’s Danish roots. “Terroir” is a French word that has traditionally been used to describe how all of the specific elements of a wine, such as where it is grown, the climate, soil, and human intervention, makes a particular wine special. The word, and the shop, also highlights the unique tastes and properties of a food or drink based on the particular ingredient or circumstances from the region in which it comes.

Rebecca moved to Florence, Italy in 1995 and discovered that her passion was working with food and wine. She started work in a Florence wine bar in the late ’90s where she stayed for five years before becoming part owner. She later moved on to work in wine distribution, and then specifically with Grape Tours, one of the two leading wine touring companies in Tuscany. There she met Pierre, a winemaker from a small farm in Aveyron, France, who was a guest on one of her tours while he was studying at the Master of Wine Institute. Pierre has worked as a winemaker all over France and his last occupation was in St. Emilion before moving to Italy.

The onset of the 2020 pandemic complicated things, causing 9,000 clients at Grape Tours to vanish. With this devastating setback, Rebecca and Pierre moved to France to quarantine to be closer to relatives. There, Rebecca had ample time to explore the local French cheese scene and eat her fill, thus coming to the realization that Florence lacked a shop solely dedicated to various gourmet cheeses, and definitely needed one. Now, Rebecca and Pierre reside in Florence with their three children.

Rebecca and Pierre’s passions and expertise blend wonderfully in the opening of Formaggioteca Terroir, which offers a wide variety of flavors. All of the French and Italian cheeses offered are sourced from artisans. The French cheeses are imported from Mons, a family owned “affineur” near Lyon, and there are 25 different ones to choose from, such as goat cheeses and cow milk cheeses.

The Italian cheeses offered come from the recommendation of Andre de Magi of Arezzo, such as pecorino as well as goat milk cheeses, one of which is a blue cheese aged with cocoa, rum, and a chestnut glaze. Locally crafted cheeses are also sold, such as Corzano & Paterno of San Casciano Val di Pesa, which provides fresh ewe cheeses and fresh ricotta, which is popular amongst locals. Cheeses can be bought by weight or by piece, and there is also a wide variety of cheese boxes that may be purchased online. Cheese boxes come with four or six cheeses that are sure to provide an array of flavors, from French to Italian, fresh to aged, and varying intensity levels. The shop also offers crackers, chutneys and baguettes that are a perfect snack to accompany a cheese box. As for the French and Italian vintages, all of the wine is stored in the shop and ready to be bought in person.

Photo at Formaggioteca Terroir by Jakita Chanthisa

Formaggioteca Terroir was created specifically with locals in mind, with the intent of bringing positivity and a wider range of tastes to the community of San Niccolò. While the cheeses and wines are gourmet and high quality, the pricing is reasonable.

The shop showcases unique and unstandardized products that can tell a story, that have a real origin, as well as products that respect nature, such as opting for organic when possible.  One of the most popular products among customers has been French goat cheese. Rebecca cites her personal wine favorites to be Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc, a French white wine, and Chianti Classico Sangiovese, a Tuscan red wine. When it comes to cheese, she claims it is impossible to choose a favorite.

The shop has a quaint, wooden seating area designed for tastings and dining outside along with take out. Rebecca hopes to hold events in the future, inviting cheese makers and wine makers to display their products to anyone who wishes to attend.

If you haven’t already, check out Formaggioteca Terroir! It is located on Via dei Renai 19, in Oltrarno San Niccolò neighborhood, near the Arno River. The website has all of the opening hours.

Grape Tours has also resumed its activity of organizing trips to wine estates.  (Autumn Noury)