Best downtown-ish cheese shop?
I'm putting together a cheese plate for a party, and I'd like to know which cheese shops are best on:
C. Knowledge and helpfulness of staff
I've heard good things about Cheese Magic (listeria aside), but there's a few cheese shops in my neighbourhood (little italy) that seem nice as well.
Little Italy, eh? La Fromagerie (College & Ossington) has some beautiful stuff. They're super nice there, too.
Otherwise, yeah, my first thought is Kensington or SLM, though that's a little bit father afield.
Nancy's is amazing! Definitely worth any effort to get there. (Though that's easy for me to say, since the effort for me is just crossing the street...)
I have only ever had good experiences with her cheeses, and since first shopping there, have recognized them on cheese boards like JKWB (when it was still JKWB). A couple times going overboard have resulted in higher-than-planned bills, but nothing out of line or astronomical. And if you give her price ranges, she is happy to work with those - she can show you how much you can get for $X, and suggest a similar but less-expensive cheese if it falls short of what you are looking for.
I like that she has you taste everything, too... helps with the no-shopping-on-an-empty-stomach rule! And each cheese comes with info including pairings (with wine and beer) so you could also ask for that kind of advice, had a great match with champagne once.
Highly, highly recommend. I have never been disappointed by Nancy's... except when I tried to pick up some Sauvagine for lunch once on a Monday (the day it is closed).
Another thumbs up for About Cheese. Samples galore, and their decadent gooey grilled cheese sandwich is a perfect cold weather snack (if shared - it really is very filling!)
Their mailing list is worth signing up for as well, they send out quite informative weekly emails with news and specials.