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Purchasing Quality Cheeses for Fondue

  • c

I'm having a small fondue party tomorrow night, and I need to know where to get about 4 pounds total of Gruyere, Appenzeller, and Emmenthaler. Rumor has it that there is some cheese shop in Beverly Hills, but I'd prefer something recommended by the ChowHounds, and, on the Westside, if you can help it.

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  1. Throw a litte "compte" into the mix, too. Bristol Farms should have all mentioned cheeses.

    15 Replies
    1. re: 2chez mike
      c
      Cyrus J. Farivar

      Compte? What is that? How much of it? Also...anyone know where to get a small quantity of Kirschwasser (Cherry Brandy)? I've seen it in big bottles, but I don't need much of it.

      1. re: Cyrus J. Farivar

        Sadly, the only place I've seen Kirschwasser for sale in "nipper" bottles is Beverages & More, which only exist in Orange and San Diego Counties.

        That cheese shop in Beverly Hills, BTW, is the best in SoCal -- a tad pricey, but the best. Bulk cheeses? You might be surprised what is being carried at Costco...

        1. re: Renee
          l
          lickmystamps

          The Beverly Hills Cheese store rocks. They have some of the stinkiest cheeses around and they'll let you taste most of 'em before buying. It is a bit on the expensive side, but you're also paying to help support the large selection.

          Similarly, Whole Foods (at least the National/Barrington one) has a pretty good selection of cheeses. Last time I was there they were featuring gruyere and appenzeller and had them in bulk quantities.

          Mmmm... a fondue party. Sounds tasty. Don't forget the lactaid!

          1. re: lickmystamps
            l
            Leslie Brenner

            I love the Beverly Hills Cheese Shop, but it's very expensive. I'd go to Whole Foods for your fondue cheeses--the selection's much better than the Trader Joe's (the one on W. Pico, anyway).

            1. re: Leslie Brenner

              As for Bev. Hills Cheese Store, here is a benchmark on price.

              I used to live close to the NYC Dean & Deluca, which sets the standard for ripping off clueless yuppies by selling decent foods at absolutely outrageous prices. They sell Brin D'Amour in the low 20's per pound.

              at Beverly Hills Cheese Store: 40$/pound!!!!!

              at Wine House on Cotner: 16$/pound.

              AFAIK Bev. Hills Cheese Store has the best selection of cheese in LA, at the most absurd prices in the United States. Sorry, but there's a point where you have to put your foot down.

              OTOH, the abovementioned Wine House has a small sporadic selection of great cheeses at great prices... I'd check them out first, and then move to the big chains. I wish I knew a better place, but I can't think of any.

              Chad

              1. re: C. Sprouse

                FWIW (to continue the acronyms), Brin d'Amour is also 40/lb (or 19.99/ half lb as they would prefer to put it) at Say Cheese. I just bought some the other day -- only realizing my tiny nugget was twelve dollars when it was rung up. OTOH, it was totally delicious...

                1. re: RAfi
                  m
                  Melanie Wong

                  Isn't love grand? Brin d'amour is one of my favorite cheeses too. Did you have a fresh one or more mature? Recently I'd tried a slice from a piece that had started to have the gooey ooze under the crust, and we decided that we loved the mature version even more.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I wouldn't call my piece "mature." More "adolescent." Old enough to get acrid around the edges. But still fairly mild and vulnerable at the center...a delight.

                    For anybody interested, I'm linking to an info page about what I can now positively confirm is a seasonal ewe's-milk cheese...

                    Link: http://www.cheese-online.com/usa/fich...

                2. re: C. Sprouse
                  c
                  Cyrus J. Farivar

                  I did check out Wally's selection of cheeses. They had a few traditional ones, like Brie, Roquefort, etc, but not the specific ones that I needed for Fondue.

          2. re: Cyrus J. Farivar
            m
            Melanie Wong

            That can be spelled Compte or Comté. It's essentially Gruyere made on the French side of the border. You might want to experiment with different ages of Gruyere/Comte to add more dimension to your blend. I've been eating some wonderful cave-aged Gruyere (over a year old) recently.

            P.S. You shoulda bought your supplies at the Cheese Board in Berkeley. (vbg)

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I've had Comte de Oro from Sunshine Foods somewhere in Napa. It was a very runny cheese, not unlike a very ripe triple cream brie. They say it's usually served on top of boiled potatoes.

              As for kirsh, I've seen it at that French market in South Pas, Nicole's.

              Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

              1. re: Kev
                m
                Melanie Wong

                Any more info on Comte de Oro? I'm not finding a match to that name on Google.

                Could you be thinking of Mont d'Or (Vacherin) which is a runny soft-ripened cheese made in Switzerland and the Franche-Comte region of France that is sometimes served on boiled potatoes. It's in season now.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Dammit, that's right. It's is the Mont d'Or (Vacherin). I think that the herb on my goat cheese that I'm eating right now isn't basil.

                  1. re: Kev
                    m
                    Melanie Wong

                    Easy on the botanicals, kev. (g) And, to pick a nit with myself, Vacherin du Haut-Doubs is the name for the French version of the cheese, while Mont d'Or is for the Swiss.

            2. re: Cyrus J. Farivar

              Wally's in Westwood has, I believe, cherry brandy in smaller (375 ml) bottles -- if not actual imported kirsch, then I think Clear Creek Distillery (a great outfit from Oregon) has a kirsch of their own. Give 'em a call. (1-888-9-WALLYS)

          3. m
            Mrs. Marshall

            Hello and Happy New Year!

            We just so happened to ring in the New Year with a small fondue party so here are our tips:

            We got all three of your requested cheeses (Gruyere, Appenzeller, and Emmenthaler) at Trader Joe's. They were all three imported from Switzerland, were less expensive than at a cheese shop, and made an awsome fondue!

            We didn't find kirsh at the Trader Joe's (Toluca Lake) or anywhere else we went to so we skipped it and added dry mustard instead (recommended in the recipe we used). The recipe also suggested that kirsh be served halfway through the fondue, so a larger bottle might not be such a bad thing.

            Have fun and enjoy!

            1. m
              michael (mea culpa)

              You can get 2 shots at the cheese selection by going to the Trader Joe in Silverlake. If you can't find the cheese you need there, walk across the parking lot to Say Cheese.

              1. c
                Cyrus J. Farivar

                After trying Bristol Farms on Westwood Blvd., (which didn't have any of the cheeses that I wanted) and Whole Foods on San Vicente in Brentwood (whose cheeses were overpriced), I came home and called the Beverly Hills Cheese Shop. They quoted me $15/lb for each-- Gruyere, Emmenthaler, and Appenzeller. These were way overpriced, as far as I was concerned. I then called Trader Joe's, and they quoted me $5.99/lb for the Gruyere, $3.99/lb for the Emmenthaler, and $8.29/lb for the Appenzeller, which was FAR more reasonable. I think you know what I ended up doing.

                I look forward to a fantastic fondue fest tonight!

                Oh, and had I been in Berkeley (which is where I spend most of the year), I would have gone to the Cheese Board...but it too is expensive, but I do like it. I think in the future, I'll just stick with TJ's.

                Thanks for all your help!

                3 Replies
                1. re: Cyrus J. Farivar
                  m
                  Melanie Wong

                  Boy, the BH place is pricey. I've been buying cut to order cave aged gruyere in Healdsburg for $11 per pound, none finer.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                    c
                    Cyrus J. Farivar

                    Where do you get that from?

                    1. re: Cyrus J. Farivar
                      m
                      Melanie Wong

                      Here's a link to the discussion on the SF board. Bet you could also get aged Gruyere at Cheese Board. I know that the Pasta Shop in Berkeley and Rockridge carry it too, but are probably higher in price.

                      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...