The Summit Cheese Shop is still around and excellent, but there is a new place in Fairfield called Affinage that is terrific, if a little pricey. Attended a Vermont Creamery event there last night and had tasted fantastic aged goat cheeses, creme fraiche and butter.
Here's the Times review of Affinage in Fairfield, NJ:
New Jersey is a big place!
Okay...the best cheese shop in the state is the Summit Cheese Shop in downtown Summit across from the train station. It's a tiny shop with extrodinary quality. In my opinion, Artisanal Wine and Cheese in Chester is number two.
That being said...if you want cheese and are willing to travel anywhere in the state, forget about stores and visit a farm. New Jersey has two world-class artisanal cheesemakers and a few more who are in the running.
Here are links with complete information:
I think a trip to one of these farms beats any cheese shop anywhere, espically if you can pet a goat, sheep or cow.
re: Brian Yarvin
Valley Shepherd, wonderful cheeses! Heading up there this weekend to grab some Nettlesome.
But for worldwide cheeses I would probably say the Summit shop is the ticket. There use to be a wine store/gourmet food place in westfield that had a wonderful selection but they went down hill really fast when they got some new employees that didn't care too much about the product.
I would not suggest limiting yourself to free-standing cheeseshops.
While some may argue that Murray's is as good as Neal's Dairy in London, we have the benefit of some truly excellent cheesemongers at:
1. Agata & Valentina (79th and 1st)
2. Fairway (Upper West Side, 75th and B'way; there's also a Super Fairway up near 125th but I don't frequent it much)
3. Citarella (Upper West Side, 75th and B'way and Upper East Side, 75th and 3rd; there's a downtown branch in w. village at the old Balducci's spot but I can't speak for it)
4. Eli's (80th and 3rd)
You can also try Zabar's (83rd and B'way) or Eli's Vinegar Factory (92nd b/w 1st and York?) or even Gourmet Garage (various locations), but those would be my top four picks for premium foodstore cheese counters.
In particular, I've had some wonderful and interesting cheese suggestions from Fairway.
(Murray's is on Bleecker and also has a branch in Grand Central Terminal as part of the food hall; it is excellent and considered tops in NYC).
If you have a real interest in cheese, you may also stop by Artisanal for a bite sometime.
My favorites are:
East Village Cheese Shop on Third Ave. (Lots of very cheap deals there.)
Also come out to Williamsburg in Brooklyn (1st stop in Brooklyn on the L train) There is a shop in a tiny, funky mini mall (don't let that scare you) called Bedford Cheese Shop. Excellent place.
Murray's, in Manhattan, is very popular.