Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge
went four times in 2 weeks.
a great resource, a good store. very pricey, even by NY standards. great selection of other appetizers, chocolates. nice produce department, but pricey...
great butter selection...good yogurt... passable sandwiches, but these are not too expensive...
as for the cheese...a great selection, but about half the staff is not that knowledgable. the owner has been written up a lot for having built his own cheese cave. he is an affineur of sorts...maturing the cheeses himself, buying a number of em directly from the farm. everybody ohs and ahhs about this cheese cave,
the owner learned his trrade in a couple of places, incluidng at Neal's Yard in London. Ive had their Keen's & Montgonery Cheddars for years...Murray's in NY carries one or the other and often ruins them bby bad storage...but ive had them at Neals Yard in London itself several times, and theyre both amazing, with keen's being creamier.
formaggio had keens in impeccable ocndition so i bought some, BUT he underaged it. it was not mature
enough, not interesting, lacked depth, had mainly a cream flavor. its great to have a cave and do your own maturation, but my only point is this does not guarantee great cheese. a mistake was made, despite the cheese being in impeccable condition.
noentheless, a great store, you guys (those with money to blow) should be happy to have it there
You are right on regarding the mixed service. The trick is to say that you are not ready until one of the very knowledgeable cheesemongers says "Next!". If you're lucky enough to be helped by the owner, himself, just let him do whatever he wants. He never disappoints. Ever.
Formaggio really is a great resource for the Boston area. I used to think that it was crazy expensive, until I realized that EVERYTHING in that neighborhood (Huron Ave.) was really expensive. I guess when you're paying close to a million bucks for a house there, the cost of pricey cheese is relative. Still worth it for a splurge.
Formaggio Kitchen is one of the stores in this area that make it possible for a food lover to survive here. My one complaint is that when the store expanded and took over the fruit and vegetable store next to it, two things suffered. The cold cut/sausage selection (no more fresh merguez!) and the fruits/vegetables. The meats and fruits/veggies are still better than other places...but the selection isn't the same.
Also (and I do realize this is being very picky) the lights in the new refrigerated counters give the food a strange color.