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Best cheese Chester Co?

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I lost my cheese shop!!! Mangano's Cheese in Phoenixville closed up last Thursday. Michael had hoped to do a call-by-Wednesday-pick-up-on-Saturday business out of Majolica, but that didn't work out. Now what do we do?

Michael suggested something in Narbeth (I haven't been able to find it) and the Ardmore Cheese shop, but I was hoping to buy my groceries without making such an expedition out of it (ie I'd like to spend more on cheese than on gas). The cheese shop at the Lancaster Farmer's Market in Wayne is nice, but it doesn't seem to get any local cheeses. Phoenixville Farmer's market usually has Shellbark and Birchrunville Farms, both of which I love, but that's awful limited (and seasonal).

Any suggestions would be most welcome.

Francis

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  1. Two places are at the top of my list; neither will disappoint you. Wegman's in Downingtown has an outstanding cheese department, and the folks working in that department are extremely knowledgeable about the products they sell. The other place, if you don't mind a little drive, is Talula's Table in Kennett. Aimee Olexy is passionate about cheese, and that's evident in the extensive selection you'll find at Talula's. They carry local artisanal cheeses (including Shellbark) as well as an amazing array from around the world. Those have become my go-to spots when cheese is on my shopping list.

    1. Oh noooooooo....the Cheese shop closed !!!??!! I hope he finds an alternative outlet...great guy and great shop...sad to see them go.

      You might just have to wait for Wegmans to open in Collegeville (current estimate - spring 09) but even then I am not sure you will get the local variety and raw milk cheese that Michael had.

      1 Reply
      1. re: percyn

        Thanks, both. Cindy, I had forgotten about Talula's Table, although I'm a big fan. It is a hike, but not as far as Narbeth, or driving out, as Michael suggested, to Hendricks Farm in Telford (whence my comment about spending more on gas than cheese).

        Wegman's is our usual grocery store, and their cheese is fine (and the selection fairly broad), but (a) you have to watch age, because they don't always, and (b) they just sell you what Head Office buys wholesale and ships out to all the stores. It will certainly do for now (as will the Lancaster Market in Wayne) but I was hoping for a store that took cheese selection a step further.

        Percyn, he said he was not looking for an alternative outlet; he is getting out of retail. He wants to focus on making cheese himself. I am looking forward to that, but I'm not sure when he will be in production. If he is, we're likely to see his stuff first at the Phoenixville market. He was there Saturday, manning the Shellbark booth for a friend who had a family emergency. That's all I know.

        Does anyone know the name of the place in Narbeth. He said they had a large selection of French cheeses (there is a large ex-pat community there because of the French school).

        Francis

      2. So sorry you lost your shop. Wegman's has a great selection but some of the staff are a little less educated and helpful than #1 Talula's Table and a little closer Carlino's Market in West Chester. Although Carlino's doen't have the volume that Wegman's has, what they have is excellent and their (a little) older cheese lady had been doing this for over 30+ years - - she knows her stuff, great for guidance if you need it. Good Luck!

        2 Replies
        1. re: keby

          Thanks, keby. I've been to Carlino's once or twice. It looks like your classic Italian store, of which there are hundreds in NJ, but rather few here. I thought it expensive, but I'll go have another look at their cheese. As usual in WC, parking is a problem. Do you know if they buy from local farms?

          Francis

          1. re: FrancisdeR

            I would be weary of what kinds of cheese you select from Carlino's, or any similar store for that matter. We did a cheese dinner for Valentine's day and I purchased all of my cheeses from Carlino's. All of the fairly basic/common cheeses were fine, but two of the more unusual ones tasted as if they had been wrapped in plastic wrap too long (probably because they weren't very popular and thus sat longer in the case) and thus were thrown out. I think this is a potential problem for any place that cuts their cheese ahead of time and stores it in plastic wrap, but just thought I'd mention it. Thanks!

        2. I keep hearing Wegmans...(Downingtown) I went there to see what it was all about, I have to say not impressed, the place was beat up and dirty. I compared prices with Whole Foods and I must say, if all you want is generic stuff ie. paper towels or Pert shampoo then any supermarket will do but if you want top quality meat, fish or cheeses then Whole Foods is very competative and sometimes cheeper. They have an outstanding selection and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable, also the place is clean. Except the Wynnewood store, its old. But I would go to the Devon store.

          1 Reply
          1. re: danny m

            Wow! I shop at Wegman's faily often, and "beat up and dirty" are not words that have ever crossed my mind while there. I hope you tell the customer service folks there of your impressions and experience; I'm sure they'd be very receptive to comments of that nature.

          2. This might be the place you are looking for in Narberth: The Cheese Company, 217 Haverford Ave, Narberth, PA 19072
            (610) 667-3663
            www.thecheeseco.com/

            2 Replies
            1. re: lorabeth

              It's probably a haul for you, but worth the trip; Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop

              www.chcheeseshop.com

              1. re: lorabeth

                Thanks, Lorabeth, it is. I went yesterday (my wife was having a procedure at Lankenau, and I had some time off to explore the area). I was very impressed with the cheese, but it is a hike for us. They seem to deal with a lot of the same local cheesemakers as Michael used to.

                I was also able to drop in at Le Petit Mitron, and check out Maia. The pastries at LPM were very good and pretty authentic. I don't know what to make of Maia; we'll have to go back and actually eat there.

                Francis

              2. Is the Villanova Cheese Shop open anymore? They closed in Wayne a while back, and I can't remember if their store in Gateway is open still or not. I fear not. I heard (from one of the tenants) that the landlord raised the rent there and it forced most of the small businesses out - hence Staples, Trader Joe's, T. J. Maxx and the other national chains there now.

                1. Wher do you go to buy cheese now. sems like prices are going through the roof.!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jado

                    I checked out the cheese shop in Narbeth. It is superb, albeit far for me. I have been going to the Phoenixville farmer's market -- limited selection, but it is authentic, local, fresh, etc. Mainly Birchrun Farms and Shellbark. The farmer's market in Wayne is my other source. I've traveling a fair bit recently, and I was lucky enough to be in Montreal, where I had a serious fix of cheeses.

                    That's all I have found so far, I'm afraid.

                    Francis

                  2. In Lancaster County, right off Rte. 30, in the town of Gap
                    Town Clock Cheese Shoppe - excellent selection & service
                    717-442-9090

                    1. You must go to VaLa Vineyard in Avondale and do their wine and local cheese pairing. They have amazing wine, italian varietalks, and pair each wine with a local yummy - think fresh goat cheese, sharp cheddar, they also pair with local mushrooms, dips/spreads, and chocolate truffles. They sell all of the cheese and snacks there in addition to the wine. Its a bit pricey but totally worth it.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: AmblerGirl

                        Two interesting suggestions there. Gap is probably closer to me than Narbeth, so we'll make an expedition of it maybe this weekend. I had forgotten Talula's Table (I was reminded reading the old threads) and it is truly great, but once again, I'm driving 40 minutes for groceries (!?!?) albeit high end groceries. VaLa is also far, but I'm game to go give it a try. Just to check, AmblerGirl, do they impose their own wines or do they have other offerings?

                        Francis

                        1. re: FrancisdeR

                          Yes, it is a vineyard so they serve their own wines. I know PA winew gets a bad rep, but they are quite good, tghe absolutely best in PA (IMHO).

                          1. re: AmblerGirl

                            Been to VaLa a few times. Very nice regional wines, beautiful setting out behind their large barn of the vineyard. And some nice cheeses to go with their wines. Worth the visit.

                        2. re: AmblerGirl

                          Regarding Gap Cheese Shop - Better give you a head's up, I thinks he's only open Wed-Sat.
                          I'd call ahead to be sure, but worth the trip.
                          Here's a link to a story about him:
                          http://www.lancasterfarming.com/node/977

                        3. Francis - this is a wonderful place in Lancaster County, on rt 41, in Gap PA - it is called the Town Clock Cheese Shoppe - it may seem small but they are GREAT, very personalable and an excellent selection and high quality of service - prices are very reasonable!! Their number is
                          717-442-9090

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: DebNull

                            Sorry to revive an old discussion. I was out for a drive in the country last week and found this beautiful farm near Honeybrook. They make their own cheeses. Their selection seems to be limited to multiple Monterey Jack and Cheddar varieties. If you are visiting the place in Gap, its worth checking out.

                            http://www.septemberfarmcheese.com/

                          2. Again, sorry to dredge up an old topic - but Talula's Table is hosting a free cheese happy hour in Kennett Square this Thursday, Feb 25 - for more information, the local farmers market did a little write up! www.ksqfarmersmarket.wordpress.com. Best of all, the happy hour is free!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: whenyourhyme

                              I grabbed a flyer from Talula's when I was there a few days ago. I'm thinking of heading over there for the cheese event.

                              And I'm curious -- are you, in any way, associated with Talula's Table?

                              1. re: CindyJ

                                I help run the Farmers Market in town - we've been lucky to work with Aimee on a number of things and are happy to let people know about their events, especially when they coincide with some of ours. See you Thursday!

                                1. re: whenyourhyme

                                  Oh! Then I'm sure we know many people in common. I positively LOVE the KS Farmer's Market; I think it's just one more wonderful thing about the town. OTOH, the parking situation in town is awful; I can't believe they did away with free parking on Fridays and Saturdays.

                            2. Brick Oven Bread and Cheese is now open in Phoenixville. It is next to Iron Hill on Bridge Street. The bread is wonderful and the cheese case has local and unique cheeses.
                              138 bridge street