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Cheese in Tampa

  • h

Hey everyone. I was wondering if there are any good cheese shops in or around the Tampa area. I'm looking for the good stuff here. Where all the cheeses are from different regions of the world, kept at proper temperatures, and the people behind the counter know if the cheese is ripe or will need to breathe a bit. I don't know if a place down here exists, but I hope it does. Thanks.

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  1. Try Mazarro Italian Market on 22nd Ave. N in St. Petersburg. They have a knowledgable cheese monger and pretty good selection. Not much in Tampa; maybe Castellano and Pizzo on Henderson and Lois.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bergerman
      Tandoori Girl

      I'd second Cast. & Pizzo. They carry French (bries, camemberts, camemzolla, etc.) and Spanish cheeses (Manchego, for instance) as well as Italian. Some traditional English cheeses (stilton) and Canadian cheddars.

      If you can find Paul, the owner, he might be able to steer you in the right direction. As for a knowledgable staff, they might know what tastes good :^). This place is generally too crowded for chit-chat so be sure to go in off-hours if you want advice. They have a restaurant and take-out that keeps them hopping.

    2. sadly, the grand cru wine cellar changes ownership several years ago and went straight downhill. I can't imagine they survived because service and selection had gotten so bad.

      Castellano/Pizzo would cover a few italian varieties but i don't think there will be much more. please report back on what you do find.

      1. You're kind of out of luck I think :(. One place I remember is the Fresh Market on Dale Mabry and Fowler. And it's not very good. You should check out Grand Cru (but it did go downhill).

        One more place to check is this wine shop on a road that connects Kennedy and Dale Mabry (the road starts around Miguel's Mexican restuarant and Seven Seas strip club). Forget the name of the shop, but they did have a few decent cheeses in there.

        There's a lot to like and hate about Tampa...

        1. You're out of luck in Florida!

          But I have a solution - go to Murray's Cheese Shop online (the famous NYC shop) and join their Cheese-of-the-Month club. It may seem pricy at $50 per month, but the selections are quite eclectic and more importantly shipping is incouded in the price (which it isn't in most clubs and doubles the price in most cases). It's been my lifeline living down here where a restaurant cheese plate usually includes Velveeta, string cheese and Lavash Kiri.

          The first week of every month is like Christmas for us now, we can't wait to check the front porch when we get home from work!

          5 Replies
          1. re: Bill

            I believe Artisanal also has cheese delivery.

            Is there a Whole Foods market near Tampa? The one in Miami has a good selection but the ones in Broward are a little lacking. Other than that, cheese-by-mail may be the way to go.

            1. re: lax2mia

              The closest one is in Sarasota.


              1. re: lax2mia

                We have a Whole Foods on Dale Mabry right near the 275 entrance, don't we?
                In that Target complex near where Total Wine is...
                Used to be Wild Oats...

                1. re: Mild Bill

                  Yeah I was curious why no one mentioned this, they have a pretty sold cheese selection. Go in there and talk to Eric, he'll get you in to some great cheeses. Then talk to Chris and get a good craft beer or two (or a bottle of wine) and tell him I sent you, he'll take care of you (or make fun of you, not sure which)

                  1. re: askdrtodd

                    I mentioned it, I did! See below! Totally agree; don't love the whole store, but the cheese counter is great.

            2. I live in Hollywood but have most family living in Tampa and found myself having to cook Thanksgiving dinner in your city. We flew over but I still managed to bring a suitcase full of ingredients and already prepared dishes. I did find myself still needing some items (fresh shitake, shallots, flat leaf parsley, etc.) so we ran over to Publix - where we live they have all the above. Your Publix had none of the above. I was really shocked. Anyway, we wound up at the Fresh Market and they had all the above. The shitake they had out was horrible, but my aunt was so impressed when I found the produce person and asked for something fresher and he brought out a brand new box of wonderful looking mushrooms. I just came back from California where they have the best of everything and I was feeling so deprived living here, but now that you remind me of your plight I'll stop whining. Anyway, after such a long story, try Fresh Market. They didn't have the same selection as Whole Foods but it was decent and they nice produce and fish and meat, too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: adele
                Tandoori Girl

                Adele, I have to admit to being a bit surprised by your post. You say you went to "the Publix" in Tampa? Do you know how many Publix's there are in Tampa? Mine has all you mention and much more. Can you please tell me which Publix you went to? Where was it? It is hard to imagine any grocery in Tampa that doesn't have flat leaf parsley, frankly. That's not exactly a specialty item. Perhaps you were shopping the day before thanksgiving and the inventory was depleted.

              2. t
                Tandoori Girl

                I'm curious, Hojo. What cheeses are you looking for?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Tandoori Girl

                  I'm looking for all sorts. I come from Philly originally where I would stop by DiBruno Bros. Once a week to pick up a little bit of whatever was coming into form at the time. Whether it be some nice hard italian cheeses, or a nice runny goat's milk, a sharp bleu. Whatever. I'm just looking for some good cheese.

                2. Castellano & Pizzo in Tampa is cutting back on their cheese selections and their cold cuts have slipped in quality.......sad cause I was a BIG SUPPORTER. Offered to purchase entire large gords of a particular Italian cheese and 1/2 doz. smaller gords of another one. Ordered twice but got the old song & dance when I checked back 1 month later when I didn't hear from them. A real shame. Going back to their competition. Cheech whata hassle.

                  1. FWIW, we buy nearly all our cheese at Vintage Wine Cellars on Henderson in S. Tampa. (I mean snacking cheese, wine-and-cheese type cheese, not queso fresco or parm or other cooking cheeses.) Excellent selection and prices, and a sweetheart of an owner. My next fave cheese counter is at Whole Foods at Walter's Crossing: I don't like the store in general, but the cheese counter and staff are top notch.

                    Wine Cellar
                    1314 Prudential Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32207

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Miss E

                      i rely on Mr. Dunderbak's, but the selection, to be expected, leans toward Germany and Belgium.

                      Mr. Dunderbak's
                      Bruce B Downs Blvd, Tampa, FL 33613

                      1. re: andy huse

                        Wholefoods has a decent selection in Tampa. Datz has some good things and sells hand sliced Iberico Ham too. Greenwise continues to be a disappointment on the cheese front.

                        1. re: Lauracooks

                          I would try:
                          Whole foods by 275 on Dale Mabry;
                          Publix Greenwise between Azeele and Platt
                          Datz Deli on MacDill

                          All are better than castellano or Mazarro's

                          Datz Deli
                          2616 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL 33629

                          1. re: Old E.

                            These are definitely the 3 best cheese places in South Tampa. (although Whole Foods is technically not ST)

                    2. There is a new place on Anna Maria Island near Bradenton. I haven't tried it but have friends who have. They don't have a website that I can find, but they do have a Facebook Page. Here is a post from March 12:

                      Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost Canary Island Splash arrived, as well as the Spicy Splash, also for my cheesey customers, we just received, Pointe Reyes Blue, Humbolt Fog, Buffalo Mozzerella, Fol Epi, Brie, Manchego, Goat Cheese (in a log) and Drunken Goat.

                      1. Another vote for Whole Foods at Dale mabry and I-275. Some favs include the truffle cheese and a semi-soft blue- St Agur(I think)

                        1. The Whole Foods cheese counter has always been good to us.

                          However, I heard the Bern's Fine Wines store is now carrying the cheese selections offered at SideBern's. Has anyone been in lately? I'm hoping to go check it out and see if this is true.

                          1. Fresh Market in Carrollwood has terrible cheese. What they do have is not fresh and I left very dissapointed. I think the whole store is overrated. I think Trader Joe's would do well in that location. Whole Foods has the best selection around, however, it can be hit or miss. I do not think the staff is that knowledgeable so I go in knowing exactly what I want. The cheese I have gotten is fresh and very good. Datz is overpriced...way overpriced. I miss Murray's and the Blue Apron in Brooklyn. Oh well, Whole Foods will have to do.

                            1. I just came across your post and agree there is nothing really here in the tampa bay area, except for the whole foods at the target center. But, I wanted to let you know that I found a fantastic cheese shop in Orlando. Its called what else, The cheese shop, and its actually in Winter Park. Its on the cute main street near the Tiffany museum. I walked in and went aahhh. Lots and lots of styles of cheese to choose. Bring your cooler, Its worth the drive!

                              1. If you like sheep and goat milk cheeses, check out www.ricottandcheese.com located in Orlando. You can buy direct or at one of the many retail outlets or even online and have it shipped. There are a lot of artisanal young and aged sheep and goat milk cheeses. If you like ricotta, its a great place for that as well.

                                1. Went to an amazing cheese tasting event @ Cheese Please in Tampa (on Manhattan a little south of Euclid). It opened a year ago and it turns out they have these things every Friday. Last nights was all Spanish cheeses and I was in heaven.
                                  It is run by this fabulous couple, Michael & Carlos, who made the tasting esp. fun.
                                  Check it out:

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: monadelmar

                                    If you consider Sarasota in the Tampa area, there are two that are note worthy. Morton's Market on Osprey Ave has a good overall selection and somewhat knowledgable cheese associates. For the best selection of Italian cheeses some that are only imported by this shop/restaurant. Go to Bologna Cafe on S. Tamiami the owner Claudio was a sheese and salumi distributor in Bologna, Italy. He has only imported cheese and saulmi and it is of the highest quality; he is a storehouse of information on where the best regional cheese is made, (specific caves and villages) and it is an education/travelogue. The restaurant is by far the best example of Bolognese cucina, in the area. As a friend of mine says, "this is the best trip to Bologna i have ever taken..and no jet lag!"

                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                      Cheeseplease! If they don't have what you want, I bet they will get it. And I'm sure they have plenty of things that you want that you don't even know yet. Amazing cheese and all around experience.

                                      1. re: annew813

                                        I was recently pleasanly surprised with Publix Greenwise. Mazzaros ha a decent selection as.

                                  2. There is a cheese shop in Temple Terrace on 56th. I have never been in, but I understand it has been there quite a while. Interesting that no one has mentioned it yet

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: sarge

                                      Are you talking about Old World Cheese shop?

                                      Unless they've changed over the past few years, they're primarily a sandwich shop. Though as I recall (a few years back), the sandwiches were pretty good.

                                      1. re: deet13

                                        That's it. Interesting name for a sandwich shop

                                        1. re: sarge

                                          Yeah it is. This place has been around for years now, at least since the early 90's.

                                          Like I said, the service and food are pretty solid, and they'll have a small amount of cheese out for sale; but it's nothing like Mazzaro's Italian Market over in St Pete, or the guys at Cheese Please, in South Tampa.

                                          1. re: deet13

                                            They used to sell cheese - a lot of it - but we're talking several decades ago. They started as a cheese shop that made sandwiches, and it morphed over the years.

                                    2. The best cheese in Florida will undoubtedly arrive in Malabar on 14 October. I have just bought too much from the various creameries here in Wisconsin and am heading back. Can we say Carr Valley, Salemville Blue and Gorgonzola, Colby coop, Monroe Swiss, and the Gouda from the place way up north that I can never remember how to spell (Margreet)? Not to mention a number of 4, 6, and 10 year old cheddars.

                                      The Limburger from Monroe is for personal consumption only.

                                      Lucky you didn't ask about wurst.

                                      1. Hand's down your best bet is Mazzaro's in St Pete. Just off the interstate 30 mins from Tampa airport:

                                        Alta Langa 1, 2, and 3 milk Robiola's, fresh daily mozz (yes it's still warm), Stracchino, Mozz di Bufala and 24 month Parm...$15.99 WOW! Provolone as sharp as you can get. A 4 year old 1,152 pounder was cut the week before Christmas this year.....sold out in 6 days. More than a dozen other Italian cow and pecorino cheeses raw and pasteurized, D.O.P among others. Huh, there's butter inside that provolone?! Need Caciocavallo or Crotonese. Yes, Locatelli and Fulvi Pec. Romano (the Romano of the Pope!). Frumage Baladin, Casatica, Gran Bu and other small production italian cheeses found nowhere else in FL and that offering will grow. Comte, Camembert, Fromage de Meaux, Delice de Bourgogne, Tomme de Savoie, Eppoisse, Livarot, Morbier, Abondance. The list goes on in France, changes and will get better. Rolf Beeler Gruyere, Appenzeller and Vacherin Freiburger Swiss cheeses, Hostettler Urchruter, and more common cooking Gruyere, Appenzeller and Emmental. Other Quality Cheese selections will be rotated in. A dozen Dutch goudas from young to 5 years, Leyden and Beemsters. American farmstead and artisan cheeses from Tarentaise and Pleasant Ridge, Landaff to Harbison, Mt Tam to Humboldt Fog, Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill and Tomme and the list grows monthly. 3 ages of all RAW milk Manchegos, Ibores, Zamorano, Mahon, Patacabra and any Mitica offering. Yes Limburger, Tallegio and many stinkers. An entire shelf of blues from Coulet Roquefort, Point Reyes, Colston Bassett Stilton, Valdeon and Gorgonzola...Tasmania to Ireland. Neals Yard Dairy British Isle cheeses cut-to-order. It will continue to get better and you can taste it all. Call first to check if its in stock. And yes Dane's favorite Port Salut and Fruit stiltons too.....MMMMMMMM! Get ready to be part of elbow-to-elbow crowds at lunch or Saturday, but just be patient. www.mazzarosmarket.com