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Mar 9, 2008 09:07 AM

MSP-Cheese shops

I've been on a cheese kick lately after reading Dara's article on pairing beer and cheese. I found premier cheese's selection in Edina to be excellent and recommend the Colliers strong cheddar (Welch Cheddar). Since I live in Chanahassen which is in the far western suburbs I'm looking for options out here to find good cheese when I don't want to make the trek out to Surdyk's or Premier Cheese. Anyone have any suggestions of good cheeses available at places like Kowalski's or Byerly's. I even noticed Costco has quite the cheese selection. Anyone have any favorite's?

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  1. When I shopped in Uptown, the Lunds had an extensive international cheese selection and a pair of knowledgeable, enthusiastic cheesemongers who will share tastes & their frank opinions. In St. Paul now, the local Kowalski's has many, many options as well. In Byerly's, if they don't carry it they will get it for you. I've been focusing on local organic lately, and my co-ops always have nice choices for me among their selection.

    So good news/bad news might be that there is a rich enough array of available cheese in Twin Cities groceries that it's not really a local topic ... one could ask "what are your favorite grocery cheese-counter finds" on the General Topics board, knowing that you'd likely be able to procure whatever recommendation really appealed to you if you have a Lunds/ byerly's or Kowalski's in your area..

    6 Replies
    1. re: KTFoley

      liz has been transferred to the newer lunds in uptown. she is the queen of cheese, if anyone wants to have an engaging, accessible conversation with someone passionate about a food subject.

      1. re: soupkitten

        I'm lost -- where is the newer Lunds? But yes, Liz and Patrick are exactly who I am thinking about. I rarely went to their counter with anything more specific than a question and usually came home with two or three really good answers.

        The best question was, invariably, "what are you excited about this week?"

        Dave43, I'm serious that they are the best people to ask. Make the long trek to Uptown every so often, taste and discuss and compare, and you'll come home with a great list that you can follow up as often as you like in your local Lunds store.

        1. re: KTFoley

          The newer Lunds is actually in NE, on University and Central. That's where Liz is now. I think my previous post got pulled-- I fear it may have been perceived as advertising. I am sorry- that was not my intention at all! I will just say that Patrick is no longer at the Uptown Lunds.

          1. re: cheeseguysgirl

            Oooooh. I missed that whole exchange, and in truth it's been a while since I moved across the river to Kowalski country. Thanks!

            1. re: KTFoley

              KT, are you saying you're on the St. Paul side? If so, just a short hop down into Lilydale/Mendota Heights and you've got a wonderful Italian cheese selection at Buon Giorno and a great cheese shop in E's Cheese (also location in Woodbury now).

              I agree, the Lund's in NE is above average. Bonus points for the ridiculous amount of samples they have on weekday afternoons.

        2. re: soupkitten

          ack sorry for my confusing post= too late to edit now-- i meant to say "liz has been transferred *from* the uptown lunds, *to* the newer lunds in northeast," exactly where Cheeseguysgirl says. the new lund's is next to let's cook, handy to surdyk's, fugaise, bulldog ne. because of its size there are fewer grocery choices than at other lunds', it does have a great cheese counter, it has a huge amount of grab & go items but imo it is annoying to try to shop for scratch ingredients there-- they never seem to have anything!

      2. If getting to Lakewinds Co-op isn't too hard, they should have a good selection of local artisan cheeses. Personally, I like just about anything that's "real" cheese :-), so I'm not good at mentioning favorites. Lakewinds would serve as a good source, though.

        2 Replies
        1. re: steve_in_stpaul

          Some of my faves- Comte, a raw-milk gruyere type cheese (raw milk cheeses
          have much more depth of flavor),Ubriaco(soaked in wine), quality aged cheddar
          from Vermont or NY, Friesago, quality baby swiss, fresh mozzarella (Lund's
          makes their own and it's very good), Reggiano Parmesan, I could go on. A lot
          of these are fairly easy to find. The ubriaco is at the Wedge lately, and I've been seeing Comte at Cub. Surdyk's is a great place to go and taste cheeses and get ideas for new types.

          1. re: faith

            Dave43 - cheese is awesome. Plain and simple. Alone..with wine, with beer, with any food!!!

            Here are a list of cheeses that I love - and that you can find in your local Kowalski's, Byerly's, (even Cub) etc. if you cannot get to Surdyks, a co-op, E's Cheese, Haskells, etc.

            If you like sharp cheddars -

            Extra Sharp or Sharp Tillamook - a nice sharp cheddar that pairs well with Granny Smith Apples or on a roasted garlic cracker. Also good in omlettes with smoked ham.

            Hook's 10 Year - (they also have a 6 year and a 3 year?) but if you are a cheddar freak - try it. It's absolutely sinful -it's very messy and crumbly because it's aged so long - very sharp, eat in small amts - otherwise you'll get a tummy ache!!!!

            Widmer - they make several aged cheddars -3 year, 5 and 7. All excellent. A bit "lighter" in sharpness than the Hook's. Not all of these are sharp either. They also make standard cheddar.

            Carr's Valley is another good starter if you're just getting introduced to cheddars...and it seems cheddars are just really good with beer.

            There is also a cheese spread called Black Diamond Grand Reserve. It comes in a container much like hummus or other spreads. It's a bit expensive ($5.99) but it's spreadable and delicious on crackers.

            Comte mentioned by Faith is an excellent starter cheese. Not overly nutty and creamy. Gruyere is very rich - if you like goudas at all....(nutty texture and flavor..) you would like gruyere. It melts very well. Also, eat too much of this and you'll get a gut ache. So beware!

            Along goudas (my personal favorite) and blues... For snacking in order of trying?

            Vincent - good starter. Is a basic gouda.
            Rembrandt - another good starter.
            Mona Lisa Gouda - another mild good starter to gouda.
            Prima Donna Gouda - my personal favorite. Just really nutty and delicious.
            Parrano - Another good starter...a gouda with a hint of parmesan-reggiano mix.
            Old Amsterdam - less rich than beemster, but more depth in nuttiness than Vincent.
            Beemster -very rich gouda...crumbly like the Hook's 10 year.
            Ewephoria - sheep's milk cheese- buttery and sweet.

            I have had all of these...plain and on crackers. They'd probably be good with an ale. BF loves pale ales and likes snacking on goudas while drinking a beer.

            I could go on and on about blue/gorgonzola...etc.

            A good starter is Points Reye - it comes in a small wedge. If you're not a stand alone blue cheese fan eater....try a small bit smeared on a granny smith apple slice and top with a candied walnut (all you can find at Byerly's.) It's YUMMY. Can smear it on a toast point as well, with a sliver of apple and the candied walnut. Blue cheese also pairs really well with wine and with a drizzle of honey on bread or with turkey.

            I could go on and on about my love for cheese...but start there.

            FYI - in case you didn't know, typically by the goat cheese logs and stuff, there is a small basket where they have more samples (end of blocks, etc) that cost anywhere from $1.00 - $3.00 -they're the remaining hunks, etc. and I suggest that embrace these. You can always get a sample at the deli, but if it takes good, or you'd like to go home and try it with other things-these are great ways to do it with spending $26.99 for a pound of delci de bourgogne (a triple cream from France...) ya know???? I've been able to try about a dozen that I might not otherwise try. If I don't like, then I only spent $1.25...??

            Good luck

        2. If you truly love cheese, you'll move closer to Surdyk's. ;) I live a block away and it is still to far. I want to sleep in the cooler.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Foureyes137

            I just found this board and whaddaya know.. cheese.. I come from the land of cheese.. Wisconsin. You would think I would have a better repatoire, but alas, I do not. Call it a lack of funds and internet! I just got a new computer and am making a little more coin now. Although I do not know about the more exotic cheeses, I have experienced one of the more sinful of the cheese family. The "dastardly deep-fried cheese curd" from the wisconsin state fair... OMG!! I swear I saw it go right to my hips!!! Anyways, I am new to the board and am greatly looking forward to great discussions ya-der-hey!


            1. re: JessicaRose

              I have had the Wisconsin State Fair cheesecurd. It, shockingly, pales in comparison to the Minnesota State Fair Cheesecurd. My wife, who is from Milwaukee, agreed least until she stuffed another curd in her mouth. See you at the State Fair!

              1. re: Foureyes137

                I am waving to you from across the lake... or am i? lol.. obviously your wife was brainwashed.. (just kidding) If I ever get out that way, I'll have to check it out..