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Need a cheese platter for housewarming party in CC

r
rvaccha May 6, 2009 07:43 AM

Hi friends,

I hope everyone is doing well. I am looking for a Cheese platter to take to a house warming party with about ~20 guests this weekend.

The party is in Center City, and I live in Center City, but can travel a bit if needed.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Andy

  1. g
    gardens4me May 12, 2009 04:20 AM

    Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop; fantastic variety of cheeses (including Humboldt Fog and Purple Haze) and knowledgeable owners! 8505 Germantown Ave.
    http://www.chcheeseshop.com/

    1. k
      keby May 10, 2009 07:46 AM

      I'm sure it's too far, but Talula's Table does excellent cheese plates. For anyone out near Kennett Square.

      1. sockii May 9, 2009 03:34 PM

        I might also throw Whole Foods out as another suggestion - they have a lot of really nice cheeses and you could probably pull together something very interesting from their selections. There are a number of cheeses I never would have known about, nor fallen in love with, if not for the cheese dept. at Whole Foods on South St.

        3 Replies
        1. re: sockii
          thehungrything May 10, 2009 07:29 AM

          I dont know what the staff of the cheese dept in that Whole Foods is like, but in other stores I have found the knowledge of cheese to be lacking by employees in the cheese dept. I am by no means an expert but yesterday I was looking for a washed rind cheese at the Whole Foods in Montgomeryville and the cheese dept employee didnt know what that was but pretended that he did. They also cut cheeses before they are ripe. And lastly, I really prefer cheese cut to order instead of precut and wrapped in a case.
          I think Dibrunos is the cheese mecca of center city. Its a good thing I work on the other side of Broad St and live far away, because that place is dangerously good.

          1. re: thehungrything
            b
            Bride of the Juggler May 11, 2009 05:25 AM

            Oh the poor cheeses suffocating in plastic in the Whole Foods counter. A crottin de chavignol should not be kept inside a plastic deli container (like at WF), it should be resting on a woven matt (like at Dibrunos) breathing free. Thank you.

            1. re: Bride of the Juggler
              sockii May 13, 2009 02:56 PM

              I dunno, I just have issues with DiBrunos. Maybe their cheese department is better, but I've found their CC location departments to be horrible in other areas (I will not buy fish from them anymore as they never can properly scale a whole fish--sometimes they don't even bother to clean it at all! It has left me leery of all their other departments as a result.)

        2. b
          bananafishes May 8, 2009 11:28 AM

          I agree with votes for Downtown Cheese. Salumeria, which is in the same aisle in RTM as Downtown Cheese also has good stuff, but the people at Downtown Cheese actually know cheese. Just tell them you're putting together a cheese plate, and the rough flavors that you want, and they'll make suggestions and give you tastes until you have a nice selection. I like to do this much better than telling them what I want, because I always end up with a new delicious cheese that I haven't tried before.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bananafishes
            d
            doxiemom May 8, 2009 11:37 AM

            If you are downtown, the DiBruno's at Comcast Center does Saturday specials and a couple of weeks ago had a frequent buyers card for that location only - if you bought five cheeses, you got one free. I don't know if they are still doing the card thing, but it saved me $8. The store is much smaller and has a more narrow range of choices, but the service is just as good, and they are obviously trying to get people in on the weekends, so you may get lucky with a bargain.

            1. re: bananafishes
              b
              Bigley9 May 8, 2009 12:16 PM

              I often put myself in their hands - I want a cheese before I have this for dinner or even I just want a cheese to eat, something different. They are great

            2. b
              Bride of the Juggler May 6, 2009 07:52 AM

              DuBruno's, of course, 18th and Chestnut. They have standard cheese plates but will put together whatever you want. Thank you.

              12 Replies
              1. re: Bride of the Juggler
                r
                rvaccha May 6, 2009 08:02 AM

                So DiBruno's is really a good option....and not just a good store with average offerings?

                Thanks,
                Andy

                1. re: rvaccha
                  h
                  Hungryin theBurbs May 6, 2009 08:26 AM

                  You won't do better anywhere. Fantastic quality, huge variety, nice presentation. The only reason I'm glad I don't live in CC is that I would be as big as a house from all the cheese I'd eat if DiBruno's was more convenient.

                  1. re: rvaccha
                    b
                    Bigley9 May 6, 2009 08:26 AM

                    yes, as is Downtown Cheese in the Reading Terminal Market (might be cheaper)

                    1. re: Bigley9
                      h
                      Hungryin theBurbs May 6, 2009 08:48 AM

                      Downtown Cheese is great too, though I've had a couple of "off" cheese from there over the years.

                      1. re: Bigley9
                        z
                        zach272 May 9, 2009 06:55 PM

                        Prices are about even between DiBruno's and Downtown. A few random items might be a bit more expensive at one than the other, but it's basically the same deal. However, DiBruno's selection is *much* bigger, and IMO the people there are somewhat more knowledgeable.

                        1. re: zach272
                          a
                          Ali May 11, 2009 07:52 AM

                          Oh I disgree completely. I distinctly remember asking about a St. Agur (one of the best blues) and the DiBruno's guy had zero clue what I was talking about. I had to point him to where the blue cheeses were so he could look. Now, the guys have since come to seem a lot more knowledgeable, but I'm still looking toward Downtown Cheese for any serious suggestions.

                          And while DiBruno's selection is slightly bigger, I'd argue that Downtown has a bit more variety in terms of more artisanal cheeses. (Besides, Downtown carries my Truf goat cheese!) But then, if the OP's interest is in a cheese platter, he's probably not dropping the kind of money on the more expensive cheeses I'm thinking of.

                          1. re: Ali
                            b
                            Boognish May 11, 2009 11:10 AM

                            I don't think you can judge the entire DiBruno's staff based on one interaction. I can't speak for the Center City store, but Zeke at the Italian Market location is extremely knowledgeable. As is Hunter and several other members. Personally, I've never heard of St. Agur, and it's not in my copy of Steven Jenkin's Cheese Primer.

                            Ultimately, I think you can get very good product at both Downtown and DiBruno's. We're fortunate to even have a conversation like this!

                            1. re: Boognish
                              a
                              Ali May 11, 2009 01:54 PM

                              Oh no. I'm not comparing the Italian Market store. I'd be shocked if they didn't know what they were talking about. I mean the Center City one. And at the time of the conversation, the guy I talked to was the most knowledgeable one. Like I said, things are different now, but it's skewed my whole perception of the store toward thinking it's a step below Downtown Cheese.

                              But you're right. We're lucky to even be having this conversation and debating which place has the more knowledgeable staff when both already start at a very high standard.

                              And you'll have to try St. Agur (maybe not spelled like that but the Downtown Cheese guys usually always have it on hand) if you like blue cheese. It's my fav.

                              1. re: Ali
                                z
                                zach272 May 11, 2009 11:56 PM

                                St. Agur (you got it right) is regularly in the cave at DiBruno's, except when they run out (rare in my experience). That bad service you got sounds like an aberration, or maybe a staffer's first day...

                                1. re: Ali
                                  b
                                  Boognish May 12, 2009 07:41 AM

                                  Will do! Thanks for the recommendation!

                                  1. re: Boognish
                                    bluehensfan May 12, 2009 10:51 AM

                                    DiBruno's is great at Rittenhouse in terms of selection. I always try to ask Seth, the head cheesemonger there, for recommendations. There is also another guy in the cheese department who is a bit heavier set who really knows his stuff.

                          2. re: Bigley9
                            joluvscards May 10, 2009 04:31 PM

                            Interestingly enough I have found Downtown Cheese much more expensive on some recent purchases.

                      2. w
                        whitepeaches May 6, 2009 07:49 AM

                        My favorites for a cheese platter are (in this order):
                        1.Bucheron/ Humboldt Fog/ or Chevre
                        2.Manchego or Fontina
                        3.Old Amsterdam/ Comte/ Parmigiano Reggiano
                        4.Taleggio/ St.Agur/ or Stilton

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