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Feb 6, 2009 11:53 AM

Cheese Shops, Formaggio Kitchen, Others?

Looking for some good cheese (missing my Murrary's back in NYC). I googled and found Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge. Any others? Do you have a favorite?

Must be T-accessable or (in the case of Formaggio) an easy bus ride. Thanks!!

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  1. Formaggio is arguably the best in the area, but there's also the Wine & Cheese Cask in Somerville (bus accessible). Most of the Whole Foods have decent cheese selections and take better care of them than your typical supermarket.

    4 Replies
    1. re: BobB

      As far as Whole Foods goes, the Fresh Pond location has quite a good cheese section, and some knowledgeable staff. Close to Alewife T stop on the red line.

      Formaggio and Wine & Cheese Cask are quite a bit better, but less convenient (depending where you're coming from, obviously).

      1. re: BobB

        I have often been well-treated by the wine guy (owner?) of Wine and Cheese Cask, but sniffed at by the other staff. They seem annoyed by customers most of the time. Over several years, in fact. I've tried keeping my head low, I've tried asking newbie questions, I've tried talking DOC and DOP and bourbon - nothin'. I still shop there, but I don't have a relationship with anyone in the cheese counter. Maybe they're shy.

        1. re: enhF94

          Yeah, some of the folks at the Cask can be a little crusty, gruff, withdrawn, whatever. Ok, so they (mostly) don't want to be your friend, or mine either, and sucking up to them doesn't help. So don't bother. They're not mean, and they are helpful, in my experience. Just accept that whatever their demeanor, it's not about you, and it doesn't get in the way of the shop being a really good place to shop. Or, just pretend you're in Paris...

          1. re: jajjguy

            They still get most of my business. If another shop opens on my route that encourages conversations about cheese, though, they'll lose out.

      2. I am not sure about being T-accessible, but some other cheese shops include:

        The Boston Cheese Cellar in Roslindale:
        Russo's in Watertown has a solid cheese counter (ask for Mark, the cheese-guy
        )Wasiks in Wellesley do a great job:
        Concord Cheese Shop:
        And several Whole Foods Markets have a good selection.

        1. Wasn't the food shop being opened by the Publick House team supposed to have a good cheese section? I haven't been there yet, but I seem to remember that being in the original plans. OTOH, I could be hallucinating that whole thing.

          4 Replies
          1. re: bostonbroad

            Oh! That reminds me. BiNA also had a surprisingly decent cheese selection in their shop next to the new restaurant.

            1. re: PorkTerrine

              I can't believe I didn't mention that - I'm headed there in a few minutes for bread and wine - and possibly cheese!

            2. re: bostonbroad

              Publick House Provisions has a small cheese case and while they do have an interesting selection, I've wondered about their storage practices and whether the cheese is being sold past peak. I think Wasik's is fine if you're in the area but is certainly not worth a special trip to Wellesley. Formaggio Kitchen is great because they have so many accompaniments that match the quality of their cheese and they are very generous about offering tastes, which is great considering how much cheese costs. Formaggio's inventory is very Euro-centric, however. Their selection of New England and American cheeses is relatively small, though they do have a large selection from the local and excellent Carlisle Farm.

              1. re: Velda Mae

                Would be interested to know why you don't think Wasik's is worth a special trip. The owners are very knowledgeable, friendly and will give you very generous tastes of whatever you want. The cheese is excellent and you can find lots of unusual cheeses, all ripened to perfection.

            3. There is FK and then all others. FK is a bus ride from Harvard Square.

              9 Replies
                1. re: meganhyde

                  On teh internets folks often use shortcuts. Note title of thread = Formaggio Kitchen.

                  Formaggio Kitchen = FK

                  Formaggio Kitchen is one of the best cheese shops in North America. I do not make that statement lightly. It ain't cheap, but it is very, very, very good.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    Definitely agree with this...I have been to, and very much liked, Murray's in NY and would put Formaggio up against it any day. They are not necessarily the same kind of store (Formaggio has many things, not just cheese), but Formaggio has an incredible array and the staff to take you through it. Formaggio is definitely one of the country's best cheese shops.

                    1. re: hckybg

                      I agree that Formaggio's has one of the best selections, and very knowledgable staff. However, I find the place a bit off-putting, and chaotic. It can be difficult to pick a cheese, or to get proper tastes, and I've had my share of attitude from the staff.

                      Unless I'm going for something uber-exotic, I prefer to get my cheese at Wasik's Cheese Shop in Wellesley.

                      1. re: winedude

                        i've only been to the south end formaggio, which is tiny and packed with inventory. it can be very crazy there on weekends, so i avoid it then. the staff obviously is more relaxed at off-hours

                        they have some excellent charcuterie too -- i've bought a prosciutto where the pigs are fed grape must (left-over mush before wine is fermented) and it was to die for.

                        however, i think the prices of their accompaniments are just off he charts.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          Oh hotoy! You must get over to the FK mother ship in Cambridge. Seriously. Avoid it on weekends unless you've sharpened your elbows first, but it's such a great store and from what I know of you (from the board) you'd love it.

                          1. re: yumyum

                            I prefer the south end FK. I usually go after work during the week. The cheese guys have always been extremely attentive and helpful. I've gotten a chillier reception at the Cambridge store. (which is too bad because I live in Cambridge) Even though its a little bigger I always feel like I'm in somebody's way there.

                  2. re: StriperGuy

                    I felt I had to chime in here and unreservedly, wholeheartedly, and exuberantly agree. There's no comparison between Formaggio Kitchen and anything else I've seen in the Boston area. Indeed, as others have noted, the store holds its own against the best places pretty much anywhere else.

                    Formaggio Kitchen
                    244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                  3. As recommended, Wasik's Cheese Shop in Wellesly is great. It is accessible by commuter rail into Wellesley- then about a 2 block walk. They are very generous with tastes and advice. Family run and very friendly.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: emilief

                      Wasik's is good, but not worth a trip. FK is the holey of holies.

                        1. re: Gabatta

                          4th for Wasik's. They don't bring cheese out of their cellar until it's ready, they make great suggestions, are really friendly and are heavy handled with the samples. Plus although they do get crowded at the expected times (Friday afterwork), they are efficient and have a plenty of trained staff working.