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Dec 11, 2006 01:02 AM

Buying high quality cheese outside of Formaggio

Is there any place that anyone can recommend other than uber-popular yet often snobby Formaggio's to get great cheese? Love the Cheese Shop in Wellesley and their helpful staff, but was wondering about more places in Boston.


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  1. Wine and Cheese Cask in Cambridge/Somerville

    Never found Formaggio snobby myself

    1 Reply
    1. re: fenian

      Hmm...perhaps not snobby, but they're certainly well aware of their elite cheese-purveying status.

      Regardless, an enthusiastic second for the Wine and Cheese Cask. Very good cheese selection, very knowledgeable, laid-back staff, and perhaps a shade less expensive than Formaggio.

      I'd venture parallel comments for the two stores' wine selections and staff.

    2. I agree, Formaggio is not at all snobby. Expensive, yes, very... but good cheese over here of that kind is alas that way. And I really like the idea of putting out all kinds of samples as you walk through the door. All they've need would be wine...

      Whole Foods does have a good selection of cheese at their counter - I'd say the location on River St. is better than the one on Prospect. And aside from that, I don't have much to add... I haven't gone digging for good cheese much more.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Radiothomas

        I agree that Whole Foods is pretty good. I'm trying to decide if one store is better than any other, I had some really good runny epoisses at Fresh Ponds once and that's biasing me! Cardullo's is ok, but I've gotten some old country pate there which makes me think they have a turnover problem.

        1. re: steinpilz

          ooh, nothing worse than old pate! yikes

          1. re: CatalinaCupcake

            Yeah, battleship grey on the outside, though pink in the middle, with that funky going-old flavour, etc.... Don't think I'll be getting pate there again, though it is convenient and has some other good things (a little pricey though).

      2. I always found the Cambridge Formaggio cheese staff to be extremely friendly and helpful. I *do* find the patrons to be snobby with a sense of entitlement.

        8 Replies
        1. re: beetlebug

          As a frequent and long-term patron (no comment on the second half of the post...just violent disagreement) and HUGE fan of Cambridge Formaggio, I second that the staff has ALWAYS been EXTREMELY helpful and accomodating, generous with sampling of ANYTHING, and never, EVER seems inclined to even dream of upselling. I don't think the prices are out of line, either -- it's premium stuff stored and handled very carefully, so yes, you pay a premium for it -- but you'll pay virtually the same prices if you go straight to some of their sources as a consumer. In fact, they carry a Spanish EVOO in a yellow can that is a GREAT value for everyday cooking use.

          I have had BAD experience with nice cheeses poorly handled by Wilson Farms and Russo's, by the way -- I do think Whole Foods on River St and at Fresh Pond does a really nice job, but the selection is not quite as varied and deep as at Formaggio.

          1. re: rlh

            i think that good cheese is worth gold, and i would pay that much for it! there is nothing like the right cheese....

            1. re: rlh

              Ok, everyone is entitled to their opinion on Formaggio, but let's be sensible adults here, do you really have to go to the point of "violently disagreeing" with someone? Remember, we are talking about food here, not the Middle East peace crisis. Take it down a notch!

              1. re: recky

                Okay, we're getting into "Not About Food" or "Site Talk" territory, but I think the level of civility and restraint on the Greater Boston board is pretty high, and the mods are good at zapping folks who don't quite get the polite-disagreement thing.

                But CAPS LOCK can make you seem shout-y. And it's tough to convey irony and sarcasm and other nuances that are obvious with vocal inflections -- unless you use emoticons, which seem hackneyed, or "LOL", which makes you seem like you're twelve.

                But I like reading posts where people have strong opinions that reflect passion about food, up to the point where they start calling other posters names.

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  thanks guys! i am new to this board and hope its not going to be some kind of fight if i say the wrong thing. i guess i personally have just never had a nice experience at Formaggio South End, but I will say again that I am willing as always to give another chance!

              2. re: rlh

                I just want to agree. What I love best is that Formaggio doesn't have a hint of the faux gourmet affliction infecting places like Williams and Sonoma. There are no low quality foods masquerading as luxury items. Quite the opposite. I know that anything I buy there is going to be the real deal.

                1. re: fenian

                  That's exactly why I love Formaggio as well - everything is there because they know it's delicious, not just because it's nicely packaged or has a famous name. I know this thread is about cheese, but I'd also put in a plug for their wine selection -- it's very small and nothing is dirt-cheap, but they have lots of unusual and excellent bottles for between $10 and $30, and I've rarely been disappointed.

                  1. re: MichaelB

                    If we're branching out beyond cheese, then let's make a plug for the chocolate counter at the Huron Ave formaggio. I'm not even a sweets lover and I love the fleur de sel caramels.

            2. Lionette's has a cheese counter and I find the folks there to be extremely knowledgeable and friendly. I also like the cheese counter at the River St.Whole Foods.

              1. Cardullo's cheeses are pretty darn good.