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Cheese Shop Recommendation Needed

b
Boey_84 Dec 19, 2007 05:30 PM

Any recommendations of a cheese shop in the city that could help me put together a selection of cheeses/crackers to give as a gift (so not only have a nice selection, but helpful employees)?

Thanks!

  1. j
    josamania Dec 19, 2007 06:29 PM

    The Cheese Emporium at Mt Pleasant & Eglinton has a huge selection and the service is excellent

    1 Reply
    1. re: josamania
      l
      LemonLauren Dec 23, 2007 03:42 PM

      was in the Cheese Emporium today, and would make one note about the service - very aggressive. i was serving myself some olives from the bar, and it took about three seconds for someone to ask if i had found what i was looking for. nice, okay. then, the second i put the lid on the container, someone else has taken it from my hand to the cash. cool, works for me. then, i'm looking at crackers, holding one box to compare to another, and a different person asks to take them. i'm still looking, thanks. finally, i go to ring in and the person who took my olives has to push past three or four other people behind the counter to hand them to the girl at the cash. coulda done that myself. the crackers, a single box availible at dominion for $3.49 rings in at $5.99. i decide to leave those behind, and pay for my $4 worth of olives with cash, which gets a disdainfull look, and i then have to bag them myself. the moral of the story, they'll attack you to get the sale, but if you aren't going to put up the big bucks, they're past you.

      mind you, i've never tried buying cheese there, and i know my mother said she had great service. just sharing my $0.02.

    2. dinin and dishin Dec 19, 2007 08:29 PM

      My favourite is Alex Farms. They have locations at St. Lawrence Market, Manulife Centre, Danforth Ave and even Bayview Ave I think. They are my go to place for cheese, olives, olive oil and other tasty treats.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dinin and dishin
        m
        millygirl Dec 20, 2007 04:57 AM

        I second d and d above, with Alex Farms. The Cheese Boutique is too far for me and Alex has always met my needs. They have a great selection. I prefer the store on Bayview. The staff is slightly more helpful there. They also sell there own line of olive oils which are quite nice and reasonably priced.

      2. s
        Snarf Dec 20, 2007 06:28 AM

        Definitely Alex. More bang for the buck than Cheese Boutique. The Alex on Yonge, north of Eg., has some good products as well.

        The new cheese shop on Yonge, south of York Mills by the large Loblaws, has some great side products as well, including the Gourmet Sauvage line of foraged foods.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Snarf
          m
          Mila Dec 20, 2007 06:40 AM

          Even more bang for the buck at Chris's Cheesemongers at SLM, the cousin of Alex Farms.

          Also Leslieville Cheese Market, which gets so so reviews but makes up nice cheese platters.
          http://www.leslievillecheese.com/boar...

          -----
          Leslieville Cheese Market
          891 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

          Chris Cheese-mongers
          93 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E, CA

          1. re: Mila
            s
            seeldee Dec 20, 2007 02:57 PM

            The Leslieville Cheese Market is my local cheese market and I do think the products they carry are good, but the service can be...odd, and their prices are shockingly higher compared to any other cheese markets mentioned in this thread. I wish I could shop there more often but I just can't justify throwing that extra money away. In my opinion it's better to shop at the LCM for sudden cheese "emergencies" rather than shop there as a primary destination.

            I agree with Mila that Chris's at SLM is a great place with good prices and solid customer service. I definitely shop at Chris's for most of my cheeses and save trips to the wonderful Cheese Boutique for special parties/if I have the time, etc.

            1. re: Mila
              morrigan Dec 20, 2007 06:47 PM

              To be technical, Chris' Cheesemongers *is* Alex Farms. I know that makes two locations in the same market (and don't ask me why that is), but they use the same bags and describe themselves as Chris' Alex Farms... Weird, I know. I suspect that they had the smaller location first and merely expanded to the second, larger one. But I do agree - that's the stall I was thinking of.

              Oh - and for all those who wouldn't think to head to the SLM on a Sunday or Monday, they are open on the 23rd and 24th. On Sunday, their hours are 8-5 and Monday 8-3. I don't think that the staff are thrilled, but works for me...

              Happy holidays!

          2. c
            cocolou Dec 20, 2007 06:53 AM

            Grande Cheese - 22 Orfus Rd,Toronto, On (416)787-7670
            Not only cheese : salami, pasta, etc. You might have to call them to find out if they would make gift baskets.

            Alex Farm Products 2594 Yonge St, Toronto 416-488-8000 ...

            Hope this helps.

            1. b
              Boey_84 Dec 20, 2007 04:28 PM

              Wow, these are great suggestions! Thanks so much. I don't think I'll be able to make it out to Etobicoke this weekend, but I'll be sure to check out one of the Alex Farm locations (I'm close to the Yonge location) and maybe head down to St. Lawrence this weekend. As a novice cheese buyer this is going to be exciting...and tasty.

              1. h
                hungryhippotoronto Dec 20, 2007 04:51 PM

                Cheese Magic in Kensington Market

                1. morrigan Dec 23, 2007 08:26 AM

                  As a total aside, I was in the SLM this morning and opted to try the Alex Farms location, as I usually shop at the Chris' Cheese-Mongers. The service was so poor that I gave up and went back to Chris's. It took forever to get served, despite the fact that there were two employees leaning against the nearest beam, and when I asked for a list of cheeses they have mentioned on signs in the case, I got a curt "nope..." Then when I asked for Brillo, I was cut a piece of chianti-washed Spanish goat cheese. When I pointed that out, I was told "it's like Brillo...close enough..." Ummm...just from another country and animal. Not terribly impressed and won't head back to that location.

                  1. k
                    kmacd Dec 21, 2007 10:28 AM

                    I can't believe that no one has mentioned About Cheese yet.

                    http://www.provincialfinefoods.com/

                    A bit out of the way at 3467 Yonge but well worth the trip. Excellent service, good knowledge and generous samples. After shopping at a variety of Alex Farms locations over the years, I've noticed in the last few months that samples have been getting quite meager - almost to the point where it's difficult to truly taste the cheese, and that service has been on the decline. Tom at the Beach store used to be great, but haven't seen him in a while. Have also had a couple of bad experiences at the Avenue Road shop with rude and impatient staff - nothing worse than staff with an attitude. My wife and I spend about $50 a week on cheese and recent service at Alex has been enough to make us look for a new shop. About Cheese has been a pleasant surprise. Knowledgeable, enthusiastic and generous. Not much more to ask for in a cheese shop. Cheese Boutique is alright but depends who you get. Only one experience at Leslieville Cheese market, but not inspiring enough to make me go back in a hurry.

                    1. JamieK Dec 21, 2007 01:44 PM

                      I love all this cheese talk. Mmmm, cheese.

                      -----
                      About Cheese
                      3467 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4N, CA

                      1. Matt416 Dec 21, 2007 11:24 PM

                        provincial fine foods. hands down!

                        Matt

                        1. b
                          Boey_84 Dec 22, 2007 05:22 PM

                          We ended up going to Alex's on Yonge. I gave the guy behind the counter full choice of the cheese, and he then made recommendations after finding out about tastes (such as whether intense or subtle flavours were preferred). He was a little startled at the request at first (3-4 cheeses for $30-40), but put together a great selection, and was very knowledgeable.

                          We ended up with Mimolette (aged 24 months), Brie de meaux, Valancay, and one that has become a mystery. We saw that the name was on the price labels, so didn't think to ask their names again, and now after checking, to make an info sheet to give with them, the last was only labeled "Misc.". It's a tasty hard cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves.

                          Thanks for all the suggestions. I will be sure to visit all the other places in time. I'm hooked on delicious cheese!

                          -----
                          Alex Farm Products
                          2594 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4P, CA

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Boey_84
                            morrigan Dec 22, 2007 09:03 PM

                            Chestnut leaves? Does Robiola Castagna ring a bell? Though that's not exactly hard...

                            Mimolette is one of my favorites...and a perfect contrast to a good Brie...within cow's milk cheeses, anyway:).

                            1. re: Boey_84
                              orangewasabi Dec 28, 2007 08:54 AM

                              that is a VERY nice selection of choices! Mimolette and Valancay are two of my all time favs

                              if you're in the mood for another triple creme one day, try the Delice de Bourgogne from Alex's -- triple creme with extra cream added :-)

                              1. re: orangewasabi
                                Chester Eleganté Dec 28, 2007 09:04 AM

                                Agreed. The Mimolette is great. The guys at Alex Farm Bayview/Eg love it as well.

                                1. re: orangewasabi
                                  redearth Dec 28, 2007 09:05 AM

                                  Explorateur is also an excellent triple creme, as well as Riopelle, from Quebec.

                                  1. re: redearth
                                    JamieK Dec 28, 2007 09:40 AM

                                    I second Riopelle, a lovely cheese I first learned about at a cheese seminar at Volo and was also recommended to me by the folks at Alex Farm in the Beach. They also suggested I serve my guests some Lesley Stowe's cranberry and hazelnut Raincoast Crisps with the Riopelle and the combination tasted fantastic!

                                    Riopelle -
                                    http://www.fromageriehamel.com/astuces/astuce_en_05-02.html

                                    http://www.lesleystowe.com/raincoastc...

                                    -----
                                    Volo
                                    587 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

                                    Alex Farm
                                    1965 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L, CA

                              2. l
                                loveitalianfood Dec 23, 2007 08:39 PM

                                Hi i know a Italian supermarket were i buy my Italian cheese, parmigiano, crotones, boconcini, fiore di late, provolone, it's located on keele st south of the 401 called Cataldi's supermarket, you could call them up and see if they do cheese platters for you, family store the best price in Italian cheeses.
                                cant remeber the adress but check the website www.cataldi.ca
                                ciao

                                1. mainja Dec 29, 2007 05:12 AM

                                  I know this is FAR past the requester's need, since Christmas has come and gone, but I'm partial to the cheese place in Kensington Market. I don't know the name, but it's on Kensington Ave just north of St Andrew on the west side.

                                  It's crowded and chaotic, but the people are friendly and know their cheese. You say something vague about what you might want and they cut you samples right away so you can say whether or not it's your thing.

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