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mail order cheese?

  • t
  • Thor Nov 20, 2003 10:15 AM

I gotten some from NYC-area dairies that ship, and also tried Zingerman's, which I wasn't too impressed with. Does anyone have favorite mail order cheese shops to recommend?

Thanks in advance,

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  1. c
    Caitlin Wheeler

    Try igourmet.com. I haven't ordered from them, but they have a nice selection, and it's worth a shot.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Caitlin Wheeler

      I can vouch for igourmet. Great selection, nice delivery packaging.

      1. re: Abbylovi

        Yup, iGourmet. Their customer service is excellent. When I was trying to order whole wheels of certain cheeses, instead of the 1 or 2-lb. wedges offered on the site, the woman I got on the phone walked over to the warehouse, hand-picked the wheels and called me back within 15 minutes with the total weights. And the quality was excellent, too.

        1. re: GG Mora

          Even though this is an old thread, another vote for "igourmet". I've used them for myself & also for gifts, & no one has ever been disappointed.

    2. Try artisanalcheese.com. They age on premises, and have bunches of really mouth-watering stuff.

      1. I use www.fromages.com all the time. Amazing French and sometimes Italian cheeses overnighted to your door. Amazing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: missem

          I have to echo the praise for this site. You can get things you can get no where else. The website is easy to use.

          www.fromages.com

        2. The Mozzarella Company has won many national awards for their cheeses. (At the American Cheese Society competition in San Francisco earlier this year, they won 3rd place for their fresh mozzarella, 3rd place for their caciocavallo, 3rd place for their queso blanco with ancho and epazote, 3rd place for their goat's milk ricotta, and 2nd place for their creme fraiche. For other awards in prior years, see their web site.) Many of their products can be ordered online at their website (linked below). Highly recommended.

          Scott

          Link: http://www.mozzco.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: Scott

            I can vouch for this one. The Mozz. Cheese Co is located in my city and I have gone to their shop many times and sampled a lot of different cheeses....they are all wonderful.

          2. Off-topic, but...

            Does anybody remember a mail-order club in the 70's called "Cheeselovers"? It was run by what I can only describe as a flamboyant cheese impersario named Gerard Paul. My family thought he was hysterical and we always looked forward to our monthly newsletter and sampling of cheeses.

            Not exotic by current standards, but great by 70's standards - I was exposed to havarti, meunster, old bleu cheeses, smoked gouda, and a few other non-cheese items unheard-of in Southern Illinois. Especially liked their Ugly Duckling crackers.

            Any other memories of this?

            SC

            17 Replies
            1. re: StockClerk

              I remember him well. Cheeselovers International-- a triumph of marketing. I wonder sometimes who he thought he was selling to. He wrote like Liberace spoke: arch, unctuous; oh-too-precious. His rhapsodic advertising blurbs were always good for a laugh. I pictured lonely middle-aged ladies "charmed", their vanities flattered, by this rakish New York entrepeneur, and staging little cheese-tasting soirees to debate the merits of Bel Paese. A favorite line was his offer to take back this cheese "with your disappointed tooth-marks still in it" if it weren't the greatest ever. Eventually he made enough money for a Hasselblad, and his provocatively-posed wedges and rondeles achieved a pinnacle of kitsch art. Everything he sold was marked up about 200%, but hey, what price the knowledge you're of the inner brotherhood of cheese connoisseurs? (And in truth, if you lived outside of NYC or say, Boston, you'd have as much trouble locating some of his "finds" as the customer in Monty Python's cheese shop.) I still have some of the unique cheese-utensils he made available, including one he apparently designed and commissioned. This guy was a bona-fide character, and I have always wondered what became of him. I suspect he's no longer with us because if he were, we'd have heard from him. Anyone know anything about Mr. Paul's post-Cheeselovers adventures? Like maybe going from photographing cheeses to cheesecake? (But I don't think he could have been inclined that way.) He certainly proved Andy Warhol's maxim that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. And what a place in history-- to stand in the spotlight linked arm-in-arm with Messrs. Jarlsberg and Camembert (Triple Creme, of course).

              1. re: lwm
                d
                Delightfully Anonymous

                Geez, I thought I was the only person who ever heard of this guy.

                I was given a "gift" membership one Christmas during that time, and bought a few things. I've still never found Havarti as good a his "find" of double-cream.

                And I'm still using my Couteau-Chopier (sp?)!

                Gad, I'm such a geek........

                1. re: Delightfully Anonymous

                  I was looking up "Cheeselovers International" out of nostalgia and curiosity, which brought me to these postings purely by accident. (Where am I?)
                  I too used to look forward to ordering cheeses or gadgets from Cheeselovers every month. It was my biggest splurge in those days! One of my favorite Gerard Paul recommendations was Gjtost cheese on a slice of tart apple or juicy pear, to be savored with a crisp dry wine. Unimaginable pleasure!

                  1. re: Serendipity

                    I found an unopened envelope from Cheeselovers International from 1981...ooooh darn I missed my free stuff and discount coupons based on the amount of my previous orders.
                    Whatever happened to Cheeselovers International?? I miss the college days of looking forward to mail order cheese and friends dropping by with a nice bottle of wine to wind down for the weekend with good music and conversation.

                    1. re: Lisa

                      Well, it's 2 1/2 years since the last post on Cheeselovers, but I just HAD to write. I just googled it and this was the first site that came up. Upon sorting thru old stuff when moving, I found an order form from July 1977! I wondered if by chance they were still in business. I learned about delicious cheeses from my parents and enjoyed ordering a lot of different kinds from Cheeselovers. As a busy mother of 2, this was our big splurge, too. By the time we had 3 and then 4 children, we couldn't afford their high-priced items. I'm not sure if they stopped sending their mailers because we stopped ordering, though, or if we stopped ordering because they stopped sending their mailers. I am still a gourmet cheeselover, however, thanks to my parents and Gerard Paul.

                    2. re: Serendipity

                      YEAH, TOAST! I agree that the "chocolate cheese" (which I compare more to peanut butter) was my ultimate educational triumph from this experience! With Wegman's, I can now get it almost any time I want to make the trip, but I wouldn't even know what it was if not for Gerard Paul, whose name I had totally forgotten prior to finding this blog!

                      1. re: 60srad

                        While preparing for yet another move (24 in 45 years, but that's another story) I came across a Cheeselovers International gadget; stopped to Google it and here I am. I have fond memories of a time gone by rattling around Midwest small towns in the seventies. The most exotic cheese you could find in the local stores was Velveeta Pimento. My favorite from Mr. Paul was some kind of white cheese rolled in crushed pepper; I have never found anything as good since.

                        Anyone else with more about this story?

                  2. re: lwm

                    I LOVED Gerard Paul -- living as we did in Wyoming at the time, it was our lifeline to civilization. I still think his fruitcake was the best I ever tasted, and I certainly learned a lot about what GOOD cheese was supposed to be. Thought he was a fantastic marketer, and whoever his copywriter was, deserved a Clio for great sales writing!

                  3. re: StockClerk

                    I belonged to the Cheeselovers mail order,too. We were in Detroit in the mid 70's . Gerald Paul ran it and seemed knowledgeable for the time. I was introduced to Port Salut, Triple cream havarti, and some good crackers. As I recall, he got heavier into gadgets and single item deals like "firehouse cheese and butterkase" and finally went out of business. At first he was skeptical of any cheese that was altered by smoking, or shooting peppers or karaway into it. Later, he included these into his offers, lost some cred, and went downhill.

                    1. re: fozzie

                      I know it has been forever since these remarks posted but I just had to write. My husband and I were newly married and did not have a lot of money when I was first given an order form from a friend and told 'you have to try this'. It was our little extravagance and something we so looked forward to. I can not tell you how many wonderful cheeses we still enjoy because he taught us to love them. Gjtost was one of our very favorites for dessert and my husband loved the moutard aramotic that came in some order. To this day our daughter buys Gjtost for any special occasion and her daughter loves it and always says... MiMi said Mr. Paul told her about this cheese. If only he knew how his name lives on in the cheese lovers world. Mr. Paul was funny, intelligent and will always be a wonderful memory of our early days. It is ever so special because we was an expensive treat we made happen and we learned so much from those orders. The other posters are right... I have never found some of the quality cheeses he had. Even though we have easy access to them now it is not the same. Where ever you are Mr. Paul... thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

                      1. re: tcheyenne

                        We are laughing so hard right now. My husband and I were waxing nostalgic about Big Elk Mountain Cheese and pumpernickel grilled cheese sandwiches. I went online to see if there might be a substitute for that wonderful cheese, and found myself here. I am going to check out the many suggestions for mail order cheeses. Thanks everyone!

                    2. re: StockClerk

                      Somehow I was introduced to Gerard Paul’s mail-order cheese business around 1972~73 (I was 14~15 and my epicurean curiosities in life were just starting to bud). I lived in Island Park, NY, and Paul’s operation at that time was from the neighboring town of Freeport, NY (about ~7 miles away). Despite the proximity of his warehouse, I was too young to drive (by a year) so I never visited his operation. Like everyone else here, Paul essentially introduced me to the world of epicurean cheese – before him (in my suburban neighborhood ~30 miles outside of NYC) the only other place around where one could buy cheese fancier than typical deli selections was the Hickory Farms store at the local mega-mall (which featured exotic stuff like Smoked Gouda and Sharp Vermont Cheddar Cheese). By 1970’s American sensibilities (where “Big is Better)”, Paul’s product offerings were micro-sized… typically specially prepared/packaged 3 or 4 oz pieces (occasionally even 1 or 2 oz pieces!). This followed (and extended) an innovative marketing idea probably introduced by Hickory Farms – take any cheese (even the commodity stuff at the deli counter), re-package it in smaller “more special” wrapping, add an enticing description on the package, and sell it for 2 or 3 times more than the commodity version. Paul took this idea to an extreme… and it proved to be his ultimate undoing. We’ll probably all remember how totally enticing sounding Paul (or his resident copy-writing pros) made every offered piece of cheese sound… you just HAD to have it… and how lucky any of us were to score some of these ‘truly’ rare cheeses at such ‘reasonable low’ prices… Paul’s success & popularity eventually grew the market for higher-end cheeses at more higher-end retail shops. In the NYC metro area, if you shopped this market it soon became clear that you could score anything Paul offered at much lower $ costs, in much larger pieces. I recall an incident where I became very angered over a purchase from Paul - for one or another cheese he had gone on about how rare it was, what a bargain his high prices were, etc, etc. One Fall Saturday afternoon in 1974 or 75 I’m strolling along Columbus Avenue on Manhattan’s upper West Side, popping in and out of all the fancy food shops looking for cheese bargains – practically all of the “rare” expensive stuff from Paul was all over the neighborhood in any quantity desired for prices about 1/5th of his. Nowadays as an adult I’d laugh over this and get over it quickly – back then as a quick-tempered (not-too-rich) teenager I was steaming mad over this. I recall writing angry letters to Paul over his essentially BS product descriptions and demanding a refund (or credit for his over-pricing)… I never received a reply and never did business with him again. Eventually the weekly sales pitches stopped coming in the mail. A year or two later I read in the local county newspaper (Newsday) that either the NY State or Nassau County Dept of Consumer Affairs had hit Paul with a heavy $ fine over his deceptive advertising practices (they may have even arrested him or closed down his shop). The article mentioned that these departments were being inundated with local consumer complaints against Paul’s marketing hyperbole and crooked misrepresentations. That image got me a good laugh then as a kid (it offered me a vicarious measure of justice I never scored with Paul myself), and it still gives me a laugh today. It may have taken the Exotic Cheese phenomena in the US (that Paul was surely a major, perhaps the main, promoter of) longer to arrive out in America’s heartland, and during these earlier days Gerard Paul’s mail-order company may have been the only option. Eventually, maybe quickly, Paul’s success caught up with him… more & more small town markets (even supermarkets!) began offering the same stuff as his at way lower prices. I never kept any of his many sales pieces, but I’d like to see them again today… compare his descriptions and prices with today’s latest available products & prices (I bet that 40 years later now he’s still over-priced… ha-ha!). If anyone out there still has these, I encourage you to scan these and share them (somewhere) on the net. This forum posting has posts almost 10 years old mixed in with others much more current (2012-09). Mention is made above that there’s no findings of Gerard Paul on any of the net search engines. Searching NOW all these years later (with the ever improving Google search engine database), there IS a “Gerard Paul” showing up as a cheese (“fromage”) dealer in France… I’d guestimate that Paul was 40ish back in the early/mid 1970’s, so we’re looking at 80ish today… It’s possible he’s running a cheese shop in France (Gerard Paul, 9 rue des Marseillais, Aix-en-Provence, France, 13100), but it’s also possible some equally conniving younger guy “borrowed” this infamous cheese name to make some sort of a new mark (again) in the cheese world. Good Luck to him… right?

                      Goodbot

                      1. re: StockClerk

                        1977-83 I lived in Pittsburgh -- a major provincial city, but there were exactly 2 shops which carried Brie, and a single wheel would take 2-3 months to sell. I was too poor to go to NYC often enough to import Appenzeller etc; and then came mailings: "Do YOU trust Gerard Paul?" Yup, I did. Got me through grad school! (Had forgotten about Ugly Duckling crackers, but oh yeah.) Now that I live in TraderJoeHeartland (not to mention a major metro area) it seems astounding to have to order Brie, Gjetost, Appenzeller etc. from afar. (And this is not even to mention the PA State Store system which drove me, like many others, to bootleg cases of wine from Scarsdale, Manhattan, DC, etc.!) No recent experience, but I'll bet one can find Brie today even in Giant Eagle -- alongside the Velveeta & Cracker Barrel.

                        1. re: MichaelACavanaugh

                          Yeah, I think of Brie as being an '80s thing. Some magazine(s) must have featured it, because all of a sudden (bad, bland, rubbery) Brie was everywhere, there were recipes for fancying it up for a party, etc.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            Yes, the "Chardonnay & Brie" liberal set. It became an aspirational food and articles sprang up debating whether one should eat the rind or not. Guess the shift to red wine drinking took care of part of the equation.

                            I've been paying attention to what's on the pre-pack shelf at supermarkets. I was very surprised to find not a single brie cheese at the Safeway in Healdsburg. Lots of goat cheese and Laughing Cow, but no brie nor even Rouge et Noir. Looking at other supermarkets, brie's there but only one or two kinds.

                        2. re: StockClerk

                          Hi. I know this posting is old but I'm new to chow. My father (Jerry Meyers) actually was the operations manager for cheese lovers int'l during the 1970's. He worked closely (and became friends with) Gerald Paul. I have very fond memories of that place

                          1. re: Musclehead

                            You're the best found direct link to Gerard Paul yet! Was his shop in Freeport? Did he allow for walk-in customers there? Did he re-wrap bulk cheeses into those micro-portions there at his shop, or did he order those small portions from the cheese producers? Do you (or your dad) have any of the old sales brochures? If you've got substantially more to contribute about Gerard Paul & his International Cheese Lovers Co, maybe you should start a new dedicated thread/discussion here. Tell us more!

                        3. I've had really good luck with Cabot's in Vermont. Pretty much just cheddar, but very good Vermont Cheddar.

                          Link: http://store.cabotcheese.com/index.tmpl

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: fladd

                            fromages.com - impeccable, but very pricy

                            crowley cheese in Vt. (their extra sharp) - its a colby cheese, rather than cheddar, good and strong

                            I note that the igourmet products some have recommended are available through the amazon site in their new gourmet foods store - purchase through the chowhound link to amazon and you will support this site as you buy your cheese.

                          2. s
                            steakandeggs

                            I don't know if you are still looking for a mail order cheese shop, but one I know of with very delicious cheeses is Formaggio Kitchen (www.formaggiokitchen.com
                            )
                            cheese is always sent at the peak of perfection or they won't send it, and will offer you something else.

                            1. I've had several orders from Cowgirl Creamery (gifts from my sister).
                              They were quite good and arrived in excellent condition. Their catalog has a nice selection of organic cheeses.
                              http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/

                              1. Agree with Cowgirl Creamery and igourmet.com. Would also like to throw in murrayscheese.com

                                1. These folks don't have an extremely wide selection--they only sell what they make at the university's dairy--but what they have is quality. Cougar Gold is legendary in these parts.

                                  -----
                                  Washington State University: WSU Creamery
                                  Pullman WA, Pullman, WA

                                  1. Farmstead in Providence, RI does an excellent job: http://www.farmsteadinc.com/shop.html

                                    Crazy knowledgable staff.

                                    1. Cowgirl Creamery.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Phurstluv

                                        Murray's cheese! I'm impressed with their delivery and selection. We loved a gift of the cheese of the month club. Now, we order frequently. The epoisses is always just perfectly ripe.

                                        http://www.murrayscheese.com/

                                      2. http://www.pennmac.com/page/34/gourme...

                                        One of the most reliable, reseasonable and delightful places to buy mail-order, international cheeses. Great company!

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          Thanks for reminding me about Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. I live in PA, but have never ordered from them. A negative for me is that PMC's minimum order for most cheeses is one pound, whereas many other places' minimum is half a pound. When I order cheeses by mail, I prefer as wide a variety as possible, so I'd rather have six half-pound selections than three full pound choices.

                                          As a general rule, people should mail order cheeses from places that are no more than a day or two away from their homes by ground shipping. This is especially important during the hot summer months, although shipments generally include cold packs to keep the temperature of the container down during transit. Thus I recommend that people living on the East Coast stick to a store also located on the East Coast, and likewise for West Coasters, midwesterners, etc. What I look for in a good mail order cheese service:

                                          Selection

                                          Excellent condition of cheeses, which includes if the place has the know-how to maintain them properly. I go back to places which always ship me cheese in great condition.

                                          Price of cheeses, although I'm willing to pay more when a place offers unusual or hard-to-get cheeses and sells them in superior condition

                                          Price of shipping. I really dislike places that ship only by air and charge me a lot for it, even when ground shipping would get my order to me the next day. Some stores have gone to air only, but others still offer ground shipping as well.

                                          Good choices, besides your recommendation of PMC in Pittsburgh, that are located in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states are DiBruno Brothers (Philadelphia), Murray's (New York), Artisanal (New York), and Formaggio Kitchen (Boston). Murray's has unfortunately switched to air only shipping. I would also recommend Gourmet Library in Springfiield, NJ, which has excellent prices. However, they no longer have a website. You can still get cheese from them, but you now have to call them and ask what's in stock, so it's become more of a hassle to deal with them.

                                          1. re: cheesemaestro

                                            Great tips as always cheesemaestro. I can get everything I want locally but when I buy thru PMC, I always wind up including a few cheese samplers to round out my order.

                                            Thinking back, at PMC I started by ordering samplers of my own design and soon after samplers became an item you could order thru pre-selection. PMC has always done right by me. Shipping, packaging, cold packs, you name. My last order included dry cured meats, soft and hard cheese and pizza supplies. Everything arrived beautifully.

                                            I've been to Gourmet Library many times and fully agree about their selection and pricing. Only been to Murray's on a food tour and left satisfied but not for shopping. When I buy cheese in NY it never makes the trip home - usually gobbled up during my strolls. But Philly and PA in general remain my fav state to buy cheese on the northeast.

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              I too, can highly recommend Penn Mac. Have ordered from them several times. Have always been pleased with my orders and their fine customer service. Just wish they carried a larger variety of "specialty" harder-to-find cheeses.

                                              1. re: Phoebe

                                                Phoebe, I have custom ordered several times.

                                                1. re: Phoebe

                                                  I, too, can highly recommend Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. They have a fantastic selection and reasonable prices, plus the staff is very knowledgable and willing to help. I am fortunate that I live within a fifteen minute walk from their store in the Strip District of Pittsburgh and go there almost every weekend to replenish my cheese stock. In fact, I have learned to love many cheeses from talking to the people behind the counter, listening to their recommendations and taking advantage of their generosity in providing samples.

                                                  1. re: MonMauler

                                                    I kind of live in a remote area....so mailorder is the best way for me to try new and different cheeses. That's how I originally found Penn Mac. Guess I'll have to call and actually talk with someone next time I order.

                                          2. Tonight I am finishing off my Boulette d'Avenes with some black bread and Guilaman Rose de Prresse from Gascony. I got this from fromages.com, but they cannot get more at present.

                                            Anyone know a source, please post.

                                            1. thanx for the old link