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Mar 31, 2005 09:15 AM

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.