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Feb 23, 2009 01:00 PM

Disappointed with Fairway Cheese

For groceries, i usually alternate between Whole Foods (TW) and Fairway (74th), but recently, i've been so displeased with the cheese i've bought at Fairway that i've decided to stop buying cheese there entirely...

I got some Sicilian pecorino that was rancid tasting: i wondered at first if it was just a variety that i didn't care for, but i'm really into all varieties of pungent, nutty, strong, and otherwise left of center cheeses...but then i saw the various layers of mold (no, it wasn't a cheese that was meant to have mold) hidden under the layers of bunched plastic wrap...what awful quality control...

The manchego i bought last week wasn't rancid or anything, but it was blandest and poorest quality manchego i've ever tasted like processed American cheese, something i didn't think was even possible for manchego...

Other cheeses (e.g. some of the Italian sheep's cheeses that i usually love) have also been gummier and lower quality than comparably priced versions at Whole Foods...just about the only cheese i'd feel comfortable buying there now are the fresh goat cheeses like Coach Farm...

Otherwise, i like Fairway a lot (the sliced to order gaspe nova is yummy, the chicken soup is great and not too salty, fresh melon, good dried fruits, mustards, sausages, etc)...

Anyone else have similar experiences?...

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  1. See attached post from Jim Leff re LI Fairway cheese.

    FYI - the post is old but I have used a lot of caution with Fairway cheese.

    1. Yes. I bought Reggiano Parm from them not long ago. Price was good but the cheese was so inferior to the one I usually buy at DiPalo. It became dried out in about a week!

      I think Zabar's is better for cheese. WF is overpriced.

      5 Replies
      1. re: erica

        The major issue is time in plastic wrap. After a few days a cheese 'suffocates', thus go to a store that hand cuts the cheese for you each time, insist on it. Cheese ain't cheap, why buy junk?

        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          So do you think if one asks for the cheese to be cut on the spot part of the problem with Fairway cheese can be solved? Will they even do that, or wil they just tell a shopper to grb one of the pre-cut, wrapped pieces?

          1. re: erica

            The cheesemonger will cut your cheese for you just as much as the guys behind the deli counter will measure out however much tuna salad or roast beef you want even though you can both in the refrigerators just a few feet away.

            In general I find the cheese at Fairway to be just "meh," especially considering the altercations with the blue-haired cart jockeys of death one must endure to get a measly 8 oz. of Australian cheddar. I only buy pimento cheese and sliced sandwich cheese there. For anything fancier in the neighborhood, I usually go to Zabar's.

            1. re: JungMann

              Zabar's seems to be 50-50 on pre-cut and cut to order. They seem to prewrap cheeses that can survive better than the ones they hand cut. Even with this proviso, it is always better to get it hand cut for you at time of purchase.

            2. re: erica

              If they do not, go elsewhere, it is your money. Most stores have 'production' people, they just cut and wrap product and usually have no real knowledge of what they are dealing with. Thus the guys behind the counter should know and gladly wrap and cut for each order.

        2. I have had similar experiances with Fairway too so I stopped buying cheese from them. I prefer Gourmet Garage the most (cheese is the biggest thing they got right). Zabars and WF are good too.

          1. I never buy cheese from Fairway. Everything I've had from there has been old and rancid and totally killed by plastic wrap suffocation. I always avoid places that try to stock every kind of cheese under the sun. After a certain point the cost of variety is freshness.

            FWIW, I always get my cheese from Buon Italia in Chelsea Market. Yes, they do use plastic wrap, but they have very good turnover -- because they don't try to stock too much -- and they stock a lot of smaller whole cheeses. Even cheeses like St. Marcellin or Taleggio that you so often find swimming in a soup of their own rancid juices always look good on their shelves. I just take it out of the plastic and put it in some tupperware when I get home.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DistrictSelectman

              I've gotten spoiled mozzarella at Fairway. So disappointing. Now I always smell cheese before I buy it. I usually stick to WF or the Cheese Shop downtown.