12 Best Little Cheese Shops

by dccheese on December 18, 2014

in Cheesemongers & Shops

The 12 Days of Cheesemas are here! And, there are just 12 shopping days before New Year’s Eve, the cheesiest night of the year. We’re highlighting today some of the best places to shop for your holiday cheeses — the independent cheese shops in your own backyard (we hope!). Sure, NYC may think of itself as the epicenter of artisan cheese, but you don’t have to head to the Big Apple to find fabulous American farmstead and handcrafted cheeses from near and abroad. We’ve cherry-picked a couple smaller town shops across the country to feature. The “best” here is by no means scientific or exclusive* — we could easily add another 20 or so shops (and more keep opening every day!).

12 best little cheese shops | cheeseandchampagne.com

Yes, sometimes the hours at small shops are less convenient than your grocery store and the lines may be long this time of year, but shopping local means you get cheese from people trained in how best to handle it and who can recommend the perfect cheeses for your holiday cheeseboards. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet a new cheese crush?

12 Best Little Cheese Shops in the US

calf and kid, seattle cheese shop | cheeseandchampagne.com

West Coast

We asked Sheri Lavigne, owner of Calf & Kid, what the best-selling holiday cheeses are in her shop: “That’s a tough call, but I’d say top 3 are Rogue River Blue, Dinah’s Cheese and Gruyere 1655.”

From Southern California, the Cheese Cave dishes “Aged alpine cheeses are super popular, Tarentaise Reserve, L’Etivaz and 18-month Comte top the list!”

Midwest

artisan cheese company, sarasota | cheeseandchampagne.com

South

What cheeses do Floridians seek out for the holidays? Louise Converse at Artisan Cheese Co. — a lovingly curated shop in Sarasota, just look for the red ship’s funnel — responds, “Colston Basset Stilton, and cheddar is a close second. For sure!”

fairfield cheese company | cheeseandchampagne.com

Northeast

In Connecticut, Fairfield Cheese Company owners Laura Downey and Chris Palumbo have just opened a second location in Greenwich. They report that Colston Basset Stilton is their holiday best-seller.

the cheese plate | cheeseandchampagne.com

We sought cheese shop nominations on twitter, and some of our British friends asked us to include their favorite shops, too. So we also give a nod to these small shops worth seeking out on your travels:

2 Great Little Cheese Shops in the UK:

  • Mousetrap Cheese in Hereford, Ludlow & Leominster was nominated by Brock Hall Farm, who writes: “Please mention Mousetrap Cheese from Ludlow, they keep their cheese so well & support producers like me.” (Mousetrap returned the love-fest, adding, “We’re so lucky to have such talented dairies like yours nearby, it’s a pleasure to sell your lovely cheese.” Don’t these folks sound lovely?)
  • The Cheese Press in Devon, England — who just happen to carry the 2014 World’s Best Cheese Bath Blue from Somerset.

{Uh, what about DC, you ask? I couldn’t single out just one of my local shops, but you can find them on our DC Cheese Map on pinterest.}

Follow Curdwise | CheeseandChampagne’s board DC Cheese Shops & Bars on Pinterest.

Chime In

Did we miss your favorite shop? Give it a shout out in the comments!

*We’ve been to many of these shops personally, but others we’re only internet friends with. 😉 We love to see shops connecting with their customers on instagram, twitter and facebook — and sometimes we learn about a new cheese that way, too. {Need some social media pointers? Give us a shout at dccheese@gmail.com.}

{ 9 comments }

Christine December 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm

What a wonderful post! Love your picks and exciting to see so many more small shops popping up. Great for cheese and great for cheese lovers.

nick December 22, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Great list for the Midwest! Love the Des Moines cheese shop. :)

dccheese January 29, 2015 at 10:48 am

Thanks Nick!

Jacob Rodriguez December 23, 2014 at 3:13 am

we hope you come say hello in the next year.
“With eating comes appatite” French Proverb
Jacob

dccheese January 29, 2015 at 10:47 am

Sure hope to — long overdue for a trip back to SoCal!

joe December 23, 2014 at 9:47 am

Talbott & Arding, brand new to the Hudson Valley in Hudson, NY, and co-owned by Kate Arding, one of the original founders of Culture Magazine!

dccheese January 29, 2015 at 10:46 am

Looks like a great shop!

nina January 3, 2015 at 8:16 am

you forgot milk & honey in RI! 😉

dccheese January 29, 2015 at 10:46 am

Hope to visit this summer! Hear there may be some cheesy goings on up that way. 😉

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