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Cheese in Philadelphia

I will be traveling with my wife to philly Jan 27-28. Having dinner sat. night at Matyson's. We are staying at the Club Quarters in CC. I was wondering if there are any stores nearby that sell good cheeses and I was also looking for recommendations for cheese. We are not really fans of the stinky cheese, but open for anything else. Also looking for a bakery with good hard breads. The last time we were in Philly we ate at Django and absolutely loved their cheese plate. Thanks for any good ideas. Also we will be enjoying some wines from Moore Bros. with our cheese and maybe even a bottle of St. Bernardis 12 Degree Ale.

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  1. The new Di Bruno Bros. store is within a couple blocks of Club Quarters, they have multitudes of great cheeses, free samples, and knowledgeable employees who can help you find something you like.

    1. I'll second DiBruno Bros. It's at 18th & Chestnut. There are also a couple of wonderful cheese shops in Reading Market Terminal where you'll also find Metropolitan Bakery--a good source for wonderful breads. There's also a Metropolitan Bakery location just south of Rittenhouse Square, if you don't make it to Reading Market Terminal.

      You may also want to consider stopping by Tria Cafe (18th & Sansom)---it's a wonderful cheese, wine, and beer cafe. A great place for a late afternoon snack. Enjoy!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Traveller33

        Duh, I forgot Tria! Definitely head over there if you're looking to sit around and eat cheese for a while. You could skip Moore Bros. entirely and just go there, actually.

        1. re: Buckethead

          skip moore brothers? hell no, they'd better not. that place is worth going to no matter what else you plan.

          as for cheese, dibruno's and reading terminal are by far the most accesible for youse. mmm, cheese...

          1. re: mazza3

            We love Moore, we usually buy their sampler case and a couple bottles as well.

      2. The cheese purveyors at RTM are great but DiBruno's http://www.dibruno.com and it's "cheese cave" is worth a trip just to see it. They have thousands of varieties but be sure to try the murcia al vino. They also sell other types of provisions including breads. There is a LeBus near Rittenhouse but I prefer the breads from Metropolitan (there is a location in the Reading Terminal Market but go early as stuff tends to sell out quickly on the weekends!) No dogfish head beer?

        1. Don't know what kind of cheese you are looking for, but there are two cheeses that my husband and I have recently fallen in love with.

          1st) Piave - a firm, aged sheep's cheese from the Pyrennes (oh my! apologies for my spelling!) We can't get enough of this cheese!
          2nd) A goat's milk camembert cheese called Pico - comes in a little round wooden box. Very mild and creamy, with a delicate white rind. Like camembert, just more mild and sweet.

          Let us know what you choose!


          1. Formaggio Piave is from the Piave river valley of Bellunao Italy. It is a wondurful cheese. Its taste resembles that of a young Parmigiano Reggiano. Try it with some speck.

            1. just don't get the bread at DiBruno's, it's flavorless.

              1. I'd also suggest you head down to the Italian Market on Saturday morning, where you can compare DiBruno's against it's local rival Claudio's. Also stop in Claudio's Mozzarella factory where you can get mozzarella so fresh it's still warm. Stop at Sarcone's bakery for amazing bread (also so fresh it's warm). Their breadsticks are great and insanely cheap. Thank you.

                1. Thanks everyone for the outstanding information. I visited the website for Tria the other day and it looks like a great afternoon stop. Thanks for the excellent suggestions on locations and cheeses to purchase. I have been to Sarcone's before and love that place. Any suggestions for lunch on Sunday. Right now I'm thinking about Bellini Grill. I promise to report back following our trip.

                  1. I would like to reccomend Downtown Cheese in the Reading Terminal Market. The owner (Jack) knows a great deal about cheese and is meticulous in what he carries and keeps an incredibly clean shop. I worked for him at his Ardmore Farmers Market location during High School and won't get cheese from anywhere else.

                    1. After reading this board, I dragged my husband to Downtown Cheese, swearing to him that, if it didn't "do," that we would head down to DiBruno's to get our cheese. (By the way, he is a gem of a man for endulging my food whimsies! We live in Lancaster. One and a half hours of driving for cheese - HE LOVES ME)

                      Man! We left that place with a MEGA-cheese high. The woman who helped us (I wish I had asked her name), was so helpful and knowledgeable. We told her what type of cheese we had in mind, she provided a sample, we told what we did and didn't like about it, and EVERY TIME, she found a cheese that made us giggle with glee (serioursly!). I think we must have tried 25 different types of cheese. Fun!

                      Another great feature - the price. Being cheese freaks, my hubby and I usually try to set a limit. This time, we had allowed ourselves three cheeses. (PS, we never stick to our limit!) Each cheese I had her add to our stash, his mind was making the dreaded "cha-ching" noise, you know the one! With the prices we are used to, he had figured almost $100. When she told us $35 (for our five delicious new friends), we both almost fell over.

                      As a comparison, we had to check out the new Rittenhouse DiBruno's. It is beautiful. They do have a great selection. But, I must say, the workers there, while helpful, don't seem to have the same passion. The prices are higher on products we have found either in Greenwich/Chelsea in New York or in Lancaster, PA. And, looking at all the poor cheeses, smothering to death in their plastic wrap, made me feel all the better about my lovingly, paper-wrapped cheese from Downtown cheese.

                      Thanks, hounds, for the recommendation!


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: armartin

                        So happy you enjoyed it there. I have nothing but the most amazing memories from working there. His prices were always competitive and the quality was top notch!
                        As a tip to whoever is reading, never go home and wrap your cheeses in saran wrap. Use aluminum foil. Also, freezing is a no no.

                        1. re: saturninus

                          from Steve Jenkins' Q&A on egullet July 15, 2004
                          "Segregate blues from non-blues; use plastic (Saran-type) wrap for semi-firm cheeses (Fontina, Morbier); use flimsy, bakery-stlye, pastry-grab paper for chevres and super-soft cheeses; use aluminum foil over-wrapped with plastic wrap for hard cheeses. Keep all cheeses as low in the rfrgrtr as poss. (coolest, most humidity); your home rfrgrtr is your friend, not your enemy..."

                      2. I am so glad that you went to Downtown Cheese. We hugely prefer them to Claudio's and DiBruno's because of their knowledge, excellent cheese handling, and breadth of selection. They often have an artisinal super aged gouda that will knock your socks off!

                        1. Glad you liked Downtown Cheese. They are much friendlier than at DiBrunos (where I've run into employees ranging from extremely helpful to going out of their way to be the opposite end of the spectrum) but DiBruno's has the wider selection. I'll have to check out the prices at Downtown Cheese the next time I am there since DiBruno's is far from cheap. BTW DiBruno's does wrap it's cheeses from the back in paper...just the prewrapped cheeses are in shrinkwrap.

                          1. Now that DiBruno's has a cheese cave they hand-ripen many of the cheeses as well as sell them. I can't imagine getting that at Downtown Cheese. Prewrapped cheeses are largely for people who don't want to or don't have the time to ask for help. They usually move very fast. Steve Jenkins himself endorses the practice.

                            1. Hi everyone,

                              Thanks for all of the great advice. We ended up buying our cheese at DiBruno Bros. on 18th st. We bought a wonderful soft sheep's milk cheese that had a mild yet tangy taste and we bought the famaggio piave that was outstanding. We also purchased some Chirazo and then we bought bread from Met. Bakery. Enjoyed this with a bottle of red wine from Moore Bros. What an great way to spend an afternoon. Visited Tria in the early evening. I loved this place. Terrific Beer selection. I had one of the Russian River Damnations on tap and bought a bottle of the Russian River Temptation that is aging in my frig at home. Dinner that night was at Matyson's. My wife and I split the Gnochi App. and I had the Duck and she had the Halibut. We split the Tiramisu for dessert. Excellent meal and the service was superb. I love Philadelphia!!!

                              1. Well, You did it right my friend. That is an itinerary anyone could, and everyone should enjoy. Glad to see you had a good time.

                                1. Not to beat a dead horse with this subject but I noticed just this morning coming out of the gym a new cheese place in Old City. I think it is called Old City Cheese Bakery or something (I'm sure that's not the name). I have never noticed it before and know nothing about it. Small place on the west side of 3rd St, just north of Race St.

                                  1. It's where Petit Four (RIP) used to be. Haven't stopped there yet.

                                    1. The name is Old City Cheese Shop. Its a beautiful little space, as I checked it out last week. They've only been open for about a month and a half and are still getting going, but they have a nice little selection, maybe 70 cheeses I'd say? Variety is key there, and they also have breads, soups, sandwiches, olive oils, all that good stuff. It seems a little more personable than the bigger ticket places in town, which can be good and bad. But the guys there (don't think any girls work there?) all seem to have an idea of whats going on. Tasting was always encouraged! I'm just happy to see a specialty shop in our part of town, finally!