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Are there any gourmet cheese shops in Delaware?

  • k

If so, please name them and give your opinions about the selection and quality of cheeses, staff (knowledgable or not), customer service (friendly or rude), etc. Thanks.

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  1. I think you're going to have to head up to Philly...

    1. Years ago there used to be one in North Wilmington on Rt. 202 in Fairfax. There may be a bit of cheese selection at a gourmet store or grocery like Janssen's in Greenville, but you're much better of heading up to Philly.

      1. Imperial International Deli (Fairfax Mall, on 202) is a good place for cheese, as is the Foodsource in Greenville. Get Eddie (the owner) to wait on you at the deli. I have no idea about the knowledge base of the Foodsource staff, but they usually have a pretty good selection.

        1. I second the recommendations for the Imperial International Deli in Fairfax and FoodSource in Greenville. There's also a good cheese shop on Rt. 7 just south of Hockessin, in the same shopping center as Toscano To Go. If you don't mind traveling a bit, and don't want to go all the way into Philly, venture up to Wegman's in Downingtown, PA.

          1. There's a wine and cheese shop in Lewes about a block form the post office across from the canal, but th ename escapes me. It ahs been open only a few months, i think.

            1. The Imperial Deli is closing, according a recent newpaper article.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tritium

                :-o Oh my God! I love the deli!!! I don't go there for lunch anymore, but I did from 1998-2006 while I was working up the road on 202. I was planning to meet my former colleague there next month!

              2. I know the deli on 202 was closing soon (when I am not entirely certain). For some reason I was also under the impression that the cheese shop in the Shops at Limestone Hills in Pike Creek went out of business a while ago but I could be wrong. Having gone to Food Source a few times, I must say I have not been impressed by the outrageous prices and the many products that have passed their expiration dates. Also, the prepared food there seems not to be much better (ie pretty but bland). Admittedly, I can't comment on their cheese selection but I bet it's pricey.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bluehensfan

                  The cheese at Foodsource is definitely pricey, I can confirm that. That said, the fact that the store is five minutes from my house tends to put it at break-even level, since otherwise I would have to shlep 45 minutes and then contend for nonexistent parking spaces at DiBruno's in Philly.

                  I haven't noticed the problem with products past their sell-by dates at Foodsource, but then again, I very rarely buy any packaged food at all. It's pretty clear from just walking in there that the store doesn't get a huge turnover. I'm wondering how long it will last. I do like it much, much better than Janssen's--that place drives me nuts for some reason.

                2. I like FoodSource but yes, some of the prices are steep. It's convenient on the way home from work so I go on a regular basis. I'm not a cheese expert but have gotten cheese there and been happy with my choices. I really like that they have Metropolitan bread.

                  1. Call me crazy, but I've always been a big fan of Trader Joe's for their cheeses. The staff isn't usually knowledgeable, but the prices are excellent and they always have a wide variety of delicious items.

                    1. Not really a cheese shop, but you'll find some really good locally produced cheeses at VaLa winery in Avondale, including a young goat cheese in honey from Shelldrake Farms that is wonderful. You can sample the cheeses with a wine tasting and then choose what you want to purchase.

                      1. Have you tried the Country Butcher just over the border in Kennett Square, PA?

                        1. I don't one single person answered your question, as of right now, there do not appear to be any cheese stores in Delaware.

                          1. Ameritage, at 9th & Orange, has a selection of cheese from di Bruno Bros for sale in their "market" in the front of the restaurant. I do not know how knowledgeable the staff is about the cheese.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: rlbutcher

                              It's a very small selection, and the staff is not knowledgeable at all, but what they have from DiBruno's is good. The cheese is not cheap.

                              I got some cheese there about a month ago, around 4:30 PM. No one was eating in the restaurant at the time, and it appeared to be the maitre d' who waited on me at the cheese counter. He had no idea of how to cut me a slice of cheese to taste (??); then, when I asked for a quarter-pound of a particular cheese, he cut off a piece that was marginally larger than the taste he'd just given me. He put it on the scale, which then showed 0.10 pounds, and said "is that OK?" Um, no. I ended up with two scraps of cheese weighing a total of about 0.25 pounds, both so tiny that it was very hard to cut a slice from them to put on a cracker!

                              1. re: travelmad478

                                Beautiful Foods in Rehoboth Beach probably has the best selection in Lower, Slower Delware.

                                1. re: Lewes

                                  I agree. I can't believe it took so long for someone to suggest this place. When Bill ran Beautiful Foods, it had a great selection of cheeses. Very high quality too. A new owner has since taken over but I was in there this spring and the selection didn't seem to have lessened.

                                  They also used to prepare gourmet picnic baskets to take on the beach, which I loved. I'm not sure if they still do this.

                                  Beautiful Foods is a great find. It's on Rehoboth Avenue on the left right after you turn off of Route 1.

                                  1. re: JenBoes

                                    Beautiful Foods has changed hands (twice!) and this time has changed names, to Nourish. The new owners have cut down on a lot of the store's grocery items, but have added their own fresh deli items, and kept the cheese and charcuterie to the previous high standards.

                                2. re: travelmad478

                                  That's a highly irregular experience to have at Di Brunos.
                                  I very much doubt this was someone at the cheese counter, and if it was you probably stumbled on a rookie, as in my years of experience their cheese staff are one of the most well-informed crews in the city.

                                  Indeed, one of the joys of service with cheese at DiBrunos is that anyone behind the counter will give you a taste of nearly anything so you have an idea of what you are buying and can hone your palate. You may pay 20-30 a pound for the extreme high quality cheese you buy but in the process you've likely eaten a good deal of pricey cheese (and accoutrements if youre lucky), expanded your cheese palate, and had a pleasant and educational conversation about food.

                                  1. re: w.phillyeater

                                    It wasn't DiBruno's--it was a place in Wilmington (Ameritage) that has cheeses sourced from DiBruno's.

                                3. re: rlbutcher

                                  Also not a cheese store, per se, but you can find a decent selection of DiBruno cheeses at Marini's Farm Market, on Grubb Rd. in North Wilmington (across the street from St. Edmond's school). They are pre-cut and wrapped.

                                4. The Cheese Chalet in the Shoppes of Limestone Hill is still open. I actually will head over there today to buy some Parmigiana-Reggiano, so I will see how the staff is. Also, the Back Burner to Go in Hockessin Corner has a nice gourmet but small cheese selection. The staff there was well-trained and knowledgeable and helped me put together a selection of dessert cheeses for a dinner party hosted by someone who does not like dessert. -- Stilton with ginger, Stilton with mango, Manchego and a few other selections, plus some dark chocolate made a great complement to some dessert wines.

                                  1. Is that International Deli (that's probably not the right name, but something like it) still there on Concord Pike in the Fairfax shopping center? I haven't been there in quite some time, but as I recall, they had a pretty decent cheese selection.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: CindyJ

                                      The Imperial Deli closed maybe two years ago.

                                      1. re: RC51Mike

                                        That's how much attention I pay to the strip mall scene on Concord Pike.

                                    2. I know they have cheese from DiBruno's at the Taste of Italy in Hockessin. But seriously, it's only a 45 minute drive to 300+ types of cheeses at DiBruno's Rittenhouse location.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: bluehensfan

                                        And it's an even shorter ride to Talula's Table in Kennett, where the cheese selection is impressive and the staff is very knowledgeable and friendly.

                                        1. re: CindyJ

                                          Second the Talula's recommendation, although the prices are astronomical. Janssen's is also very good--a very large selection--although the knowledge base of the people serving you is not always great, and the prices are eye-watering there too.

                                          1. re: travelmad478

                                            I third the Talula's recommendation. I forgot about them! And they are so close by!

                                            1. re: travelmad478

                                              My go-to sources for cheese are Talula's Table and Wegman's. I haven't noticed that one is more expensive than the other. Could be they're both high. But I also feel I'm paying something for service -- the folks working in both places really know their cheeses and I often look to them for recommendations and advice.

                                              Also in Kennett, the Country Butcher has a smaller but really nice cheese selection. A couple of weeks ago they even had a good supply of one of my husband's hard-to-find favorites -- testun al barolo. Once again, no bargains, but knowledgeable folks working in the department.

                                              1. re: CindyJ

                                                Cindy,I would suggest you give Janssens a try as well..got to be closer than Wegmans.unless you are doing a big shop!

                                                1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                  Hey there, FCF -- haven't seen you in awhile. Wegman's and Janssen's are about the same travel time for me. I take back roads up to Wegman's -- over the bridges at Northbrook (re-opened now), out to the Four Dogs, and on from there. I do shop at Janssen's once in a while -- I must admit, although it's nice, it's not among my favorites.

                                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                                    I've stopped shopping for cheese at Jannsen's. Last time I bought some there, it was nearly inedible (dried out / old, and way way overpriced). Should never have been sold -- the kids working the deli probably didn't know any better.

                                                    1. re: spyturtle008

                                                      You need Edda to take care of you. She is the gray haired german woman with eyeglasses. She is fantastic. Never had a problem with bad cheese, but yes they are overpriced.

                                                2. re: CindyJ

                                                  There is a new cheese shop that opened last year in Newark- Taste market- they have a decent size selection- I would say 100+ cheeses- and the staff is knowledgeable and encourage you to sample. I ended up with a beautiful ripe la tur and an unusual sheep's milk gouda. They are in the Shoppes at Louviers. I will definitely be going back!

                                          2. I haven't shopped for cheese at a Whole Foods yet but one is coming soon at Glen Eagle just across the border. It may have potential.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: RC51Mike

                                              Any idea when that's scheduled to open?

                                              1. re: CindyJ

                                                They won't open until the 1st Quarter of 2012. Evidently Whole Foods has a policy of not opening during the 4th Quarter of any year. Whether that is true or not, I cannot verify, but that is what I was told by one of the vendors at Glen Eagle.