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Mar 19, 2009 04:24 PM

MSP - Cheese at Costco? - moved from Midwest board

I'm co-hosting a wine-tasting dinner with a friend. We usually get cheese from Surdyk's, but we're on a really tight budget this time.

Should we buy our cheese at Costco? (My friend has a membership.)

Specifically, will cheese snobs be disappointed with Costco's St. Andre ($9.79/lb), Couterier goat cheese ($6/lb), "Vintage" aged Gouda ($8.99/lb), Isigny St. Mere Mimolette ($11.49/lb) and Kirkland parmesan ($11.29/lb)?


P.S. I know I can buy wine at Costco without a membership (MN law), but they don't have anything we want for this tasting. Except a $53 bottle of Justin Isosceles, but we can't afford that! Bummer...

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  1. Nope, they will not. Buy and enjoy!

    1. Costco cheese is a Really Good Deal. Im actually gonna stock up this weekend for some entertaining as well. Im not sure i would get the st andre there though, as id be a bit concerned about how it was handled and packaged - i would buy harder/less delicate cheeses there in an instant, but id be curious if anyone had positive experiences with softer cheese.

      edit: my mom is big fan of the roughe et noir baby brie sampler packs, and i know that in my previous experience they generally tasted quite good (though not as good as when you genjoy them at the dairy in marin)

      1. As someone who often gets misrepresented as a cheese snob, I can definitively say that CheeseGuy and I often buy cheese at Costco-- especially when we need larger quantities. I would be wary of the St. Andre, because it's generally pretty chalky and underripe- not as good as it used to be, and definitely better if you can buy it in whole (it often comes in a two pack of small truckles) than if it's only in a wrapped wedge. We buy the goat cheese log all the time. We also like the aged Gouda, and the Mimolette and parmesan are absolutely fine. As Tex.s.toast mentioned, if they have the Rouge et Noir sampler pack I'd buy it. If yolu can find the Kerrygold Reserve or Dubliner cheddars, they are a good deal (and should pair well with wine). Their Manchego is a great bargain, and if you find an Ossau-Iraty, I'd consider that as well.

        Have a great party!

        6 Replies
        1. re: cheeseguysgirl

          Yay, CGG - I was hoping I'd hear from you! I appreciate the info, especially the tips on the St. Andre.

          And I want to clarify that I have no problems with Surdyk's and other full-price cheese shops - I love the service and selection (and I'll be popping in tomorrow to get some blue cheese) - but when one needs to economize, it's good to know what will work on the cheap(er) end.


          1. re: cheeseguysgirl

            My Costco carries Duliner Cheddar and it's the only one I buy now. Love it.

            Any help with Parm? I go to the North End and buy Reggiano, but can't find it at Costco.
            A good sustitute? or no?

            1. re: mcel215

              Costco only has Parm Regg on an occasional basis-- the Kirkland Parm or Grana Padano isn't a bad substitute. My current favorite is SarVecchio, made in WI by a company called Sartori. Odd that I love it so much because Sartori is a maker of more commodity than artisanal cheese, but I like the flavor even better than Parm Regg (it's more salty, without the sweetness of Parm that I often don't like). Don't know if it is available in Boston (I am assuming by your reference to North End you are in Boston), but available in the Midwest.

              1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                Does Costco carry the SarVecchio??? That would be cool...

                I found this cheese last night at my local co-op (Seward) and snapped it up. I read that it just won the "top cheese" prize at this year's Cheese Grammy's (or whatever that event is called.

                I haven't tried it yet, but is smells AMAZING!

                1. re: AnneInMpls

                  I don't think I've ever seen it there. Shame.

                  You are correct, it did win top prize at the U.S. Cheese Championships held recently in Green Bay. I LUUUUUV it!!

                2. re: cheeseguysgirl

                  Thanks and I'll be sure to check out SarVecchio.

                  And yes, I am in Boston.

            2. While we have the cheese snobs' attention, what about Trader Joes? They have great prices, but I've been reticent to purchase much because I flatly don't know what I'm doing.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kevin47

                Trader Joe's has decent cheese, if not great artisanal selections, the reason being that they require a 20,000 lb per year commitment from a cheesemaker before they will sign. I appreciate the need for volume, but that cuts out a lot of smaller cheesemakers who don't make that much product. That being said, you can find a lot of good "basic" cheese there- like French Brie, goat cheese, manchego, Irish cheddar, etc. For soft bloomy-rinded cheeses, always make sure the color on the rind is not rusty, and you cannot smell ammonia. Not often an issue, but if the cheese is not good, you should be able to return it without question. That's the mark of a good cheese counter.

                1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                  TJ's will let you return ANYTHING for pretty much any reason - i had a friend once who went shopping but was about to go out of town, so she returned a bunch of unopened but week old items and the store gladly took them back, no questions asked.

              2. I have found the cheeses at Costco to be quite good. They also have some oustanding wines if you hunt a little bit. For Whites, the Trevor Jones Chard is very good (Robert Parker 90) for under $20. It is unoaked so it does not taste like much of the Cali overripe butterscotch. There are some reasonably priced Italian and Aussie options for reds as well. Try the Hartford Court offerings (Parker loves these as well). Good luck.

                PS If you drizzle a little honey over the goat cheese it is incredible.