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fave cheese source in phx

Anybody have any good recommendations on where to get great cheese. We typically hit the AJ's on Lincoln & Scottsdale. Also like LGO's selection. Checked Dish Marketplace but didn't see anything super exciting.

Really wish we had something like Murray's Cheese in NYC or DiBruno Brothers in Philly - saw in a FNk mac & cheese throwdown.
http://www.murrayscheese.com/
http://www.dibruno.com/

Are AJ's & LGO about as good as we get or am I missing some great places?

Thanks!

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  1. On my rare visits to Whole Foods, I am usually able to find some good and somewhat unusual cheeses. Granted, shopping there is not like going to an actual cheese shop (such as my beloved Cheese Board in Berkeley), but I'd put them ahead of the AJ's at Central and Camelback.

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    Whole Foods Market
    5120 S Rural Rd, Tempe, AZ 85282

    Whole Foods Market
    10810 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85028

    AJ's Purveyor of Fine Foods
    5017 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012

    7 Replies
    1. re: hohokam

      I second Whole foods and AJ'S....I also suggest Trader Joe's..always a great selection and you can't beat their prices......

      1. re: ciaogal

        TJ's is where we buy 80% of the cheese we consume, but occasionally I have concerns about the age and condition of cheeses that don't move as quickly as high-volume sellers like cheddar, mozzarella, and jack.

        Also, I should note that to find a decent selection of Mexican cheeses, one pretty much has to go to one of the markets targeted at Hispanic consumers. In my experience, places like Safeway and the higher-end stores generally have limited selections.

        1. re: hohokam

          I noticed that Fry's on 44th St/Thomas sold Beecher's Handmade Cheese from Seattle's Pike Place Market once, and the next time I visited, it was gone, never to be seen again; they make some wickedly good cheese.
          http://www.beechershandmadecheese.com/

          1. re: azhotdish

            I remember being pleasantly surprised by the selection at the Fry's on 20th St at Highland the one time I went in that store. Unfortunately, I didn't really have time to inspect the cheeses very closely. I'll have to make an effort to pop in there next time I'm over that way.

            1. re: hohokam

              Since it's in the same neighborhood, might want to check out Duck & Decanter as well.
              http://www.duckanddecanter.com/Cheese...

      2. re: hohokam

        I used to be a big fan of the cheese selections at the Whole Foods @ Tatum & Shea, but have been less impressed recently. About the time that they were acquired by a Dallas supermarket chain, I felt that the selection dropped off considerably. Maybe I'm getting lazy, but I find most of what I want at my A J's (7th St & Thunderbird). It's a step down from some of the newer and larger stores, but still does a good job for 90% of my needs - cheese-wise. I haunt the "farmer's markets," like Vincent's On Camelback (OK, not really a farmer's market, but you get the idea) for that last 10%.

        Maybe when I hit the Powerball, I'll open a real cheese shop in Phoenix and die a happy guy. I'm a bit surprised that no one has done this, or that I have not found them. We order in a bunch from CA and always shop at the market at the Ferry Plaza in SF, when there to get our artesinal cheese fix. Being the wino, that I am, I cannot imagine a day without good cheese and wine and usually pass on dessert, if the restaurant offers a decent cheese-cours.

        Hunt

        1. re: Bill Hunt

          We know how you eat, Bill. You don't need the Powerball. I'll be first in line at Hunt's Fine Cheeses!

      3. Before moving to PHX 3 years ago, I worked at a wonderful cheese shop in St. Louis (The Wine and Cheese Place) for 5 years. At first, I was horrified by the lack of quality cheeses here, but I have gotten used to it. The supermarkets (Fry's and Safeway) have a better selection than most in the midwest, and AJ's, TJ's, and Whole Foods make up for the rest. I think that Whole Foods has the best overall selection. Also, check out Cheuvront downtown. They may have some that the others don't.

        1. im with you - we need some more cheese spots...

          i special order at aj's alot, or there's a small cheese station at chevront's on central, or i always find something interesting at vincent's marketplace, behind his main restaurant.

          2 Replies
          1. re: winedubar

            Thanks for the tips. Dropping in place links...

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            Cheuvront Wine & Cheese Bar
            1326 N. Central, Phoenix, AZ 85004

            Vincent Market Bistro
            3930 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

            1. re: hohokam

              thanks hohokam :) i always forget to do that!

          2. Wow. Thanks for the great feedback. We will definitely do some exploring. We haven't looked much at Whole Foods & never have been to Vincent's Marketplace and Cheuvront's.

            While some people sneer at it, we are fans of D'Affinois. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Bashas near our house (recently remodeled) stockes it & some other nice selections.

            Thankks for the info!

            1. Suprisingly enough, Costco (at least the one off Cave Creek) has a great selection at great prices (if you can do something with 2 lbs of cheese). You obviously won't get any customer service there (for help selecting a variety etc), but if you know what you want, they are pretty good.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Booger

                I frequent the same Costco and I have to second it. We get Parmesan Reggiano and it's very low-priced and excellent. They have a pretty good selection, too. I would also like to add Wild Oats. We go to the one off Raintree near Walmart on the 101 in Scottsdale, and they have a really good selection and the person behind the counter is usually very knowledgeable.

                1. re: Booger

                  Costco has a great cheese selection! I just wish the pieces weren't so big. With only two of us we rarely buy cheese there for that reason but when we've always been pleased - both with the selection and the quality. And of course costwise.

                  Tz marketplace in downtown chandler has a decent selection. But we've had hit or miss experiences there....we've picked up some items where the cheese was definitely past its prime. I've had similar experiences at Whole Foods also in the past but haven't picked up any cheese there in a couple years so maybe things have improved in how their handling their cheese.

                  1. re: Booger

                    I love the Costco, especially when I'm making macaroni and cheese. I use extra-sharp white cheddar (I make it like my mother used to) and they have it in large blocks for much less than the supermarkets. The prices for parm reggiano are way lower and since it lasts nigh on forever (although we did have some turn moldy after a few months) it can't be beat. The only problem I have is they have Kerrygold Dubliner in a large chunk and that is like candy for me. :)
                    Wild Oats, Whole Foods and AJ's are also our faves for stuff we can't find at Costco.

                    1. re: Firenza00

                      I like the cheeses at Sportsmans too. They make such a nice cheese plate.

                      There is a truffled soft goat cheese I ADORE and an herbed D'Affinois they usually sell.

                      Agree re: Trader Joe's - my cheeses have on occasion (even when properly stored) gotten bad/moldy very quickly. Anymore, I try to buy and serve them promptly.

                      1. re: Firenza00

                        About the only cheese, that we have been able to actually use, considering the volume from Costco, has been the St. Andre's Brie. We do cheese with almost every meal, and I do a cheese course with every event meal, and still cannot use such large quantities. Maybe we need to go rent some teenagers to help us out. Maybe I'll start a neighborhood co-op and pick up cheese there, then distribute it to the neighbors, so it does not make it to my green can, come Thursday night.

                        I do agree with their selection and prices. The Scottsdale store is about equal, but Cave Creek is closer, and I try to buy there, hoping that their wine selection will move to the top-tier of Costco wines. I've almost, single-handily accomplished that task.

                        Hunt

                      2. re: Booger

                        Reminds me of a Holiday present some years back. Great wino/cheese-freak friends sent me a 10 lb. block of excellent Stilton. What the hey! Ten pounds? We drank most of my Port (no easy task, that), did Stilton soup for a half-dozen meals, and still had 8 lbs. left. Wino/cheese freak friends came down from the CO mountains, and we did Stilton for a week. Still had 6 lbs. left...

                        I still love Stilton, but refrain from buying an entire railcar full of it. Been there. Done that.

                        Thanks for the memories,
                        Hunt