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Best Cheese Shop in Philly?

We recently relocated to Philadelphia (centre city) from Canada and are looking for a good cheese shop. I don't mean the grocery store varieties -- although there's nothing wrong with them -- but a large selection of european style cheeses... roqueforts, oozing triple cream bries, characterful aged cheddars, parmesano reggiano, etc... The best we found so far is Downtown Cheese at the Reading Market. Are there others around town that are well regarded with a good variety?

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  1. Welcom to Philly. Here are a couple of choices for cheesse:

    DiBrunos at 18th & Chestnut or in the Italian Market at 930 S 9th St.
    Claudio's Cheese in the Italian Market at 926 S 9th St.


    1. Others you can try include DiBrunos and Claudios. DiBrunos has a few locations. The one in Center City is on 17th and Chestnut Sts. Another is on 9th St (in the Italian Market) near Christian St. You will find Claudio's right next door.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Philly Ray

        Claudio's is good but they just have mozzarella (which is wonderful by the way). For the best selection, head to the Rittenhouse location of DiBruno Bros. Hundreds and hundreds of cheeses there in the cave and lots of other neat non-cheese related gourmet provisions.

        1. re: bluehensfan

          The big Claudio's store has a nice deli and cheese selection, not just their homemade mozzarella. It's not nearly as extensive a DiBruno, though.

          1. re: barryg

            Thanks, everybody - for all the ideas. I've seen DiBrunos from the outside, but have not heard of Claudios. I was wondering -- do they sell mostly Italian cheeses or is there a wide selection of different types?

      2. I will echo everyone's excellent advice. DiBruno's on Chestnut Street is a New York style gourmet shop with a mind blowing selection of cheeses and everything else. They have bread, pastry, smoked fish, produce, prepared foods, caviar, a meat department, charcuterie, etc... It takes me 20 minutes to select a bottle of olive oil there. Make sure you taste many things at the cheese counter. It is much more fun to go when they are not crowded, such as a weekday morning for example, because you can shop at a leisurely pace and you get better service.

        Chestnut Street Cafe
        119 S Harrison St, Wilmington, DE 19805

        1. As much as I am a DiBruno Bros devotee, I also really like Whole Foods. They have a good selection, good prices, good service and if they don't have it, they might be able to get it for you. I shop at the 10th and South store.

          1. Depending upon your location I would recommend The Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill. They have a very extensive selection of beautiful cheeses as well as other high quality items. The best thing about Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop is the staff and the fact that the owners and buyers are always there and can discuss the various cheeses with great authority. To take nothing away from DiBrunos the person that waits on you there, while well informed, will not have the same depth of knowledge of each cheese (with the possible exception of Italian cheeses) as the owners at Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop.


            4 Replies
            1. re: Unkle Al

              I always loved this shop. But after my two most recent visits I was left wondering if there was new management\ownership. The folks I am used to seeing behind the counter weren't there. The woman who waited on me a few weeks ago, as well as the man the month before, seemed to have no interest in answering my questions or making recommendations. Also, unlike all of my previous visits, I was not offered samples of any of the cheeses.

              When I first saw this post, I was going to say Chestnut Hill almost reflexively. But then I recalled my most recent experiences and was hesitant.

              Does anyone know if there is new ownership or, after years of good service, I just hit two off days?

              1. re: gaffk

                I'd say i go to the C-Hill cheese shop 3-4 times a year, and have for the last 4 years. I"ve found the service to be pretty consistent. havne't seen the drop off, but didn't see the earlier highs you saw earlier, either.

                1. re: Bob Loblaw

                  Since the OP is located in Center City, Chestnut Hill is not as convenient as DiBruno's. You can, howeverr, take a Regional Rail train (Chestnut Hill West line) from either Suburban Station or Market East. That will take you to the "foot" of Chestnut Hill, and within a block or so of the Cheese shop. While you are there, there are lots of other shops to visit, including Penzy's Spices, so it would make a lovely Saturday excursion.

                2. re: gaffk

                  Nope, no new management. You must have caught them on a day when both Dan and John were away.

              2. Claudio's and DiBruno's and Downtown Cheese in the Reading Terminal Market

                1. Owner Jack Morgan at Downtown really knows his stuff and will get you anything he can that you want

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: Bigley9

                      I'll see if Jack can get me my Quebec Wild Woman (la sauvagine)... all cheese lovers in Philly would thank me for that...

                  1. I will be the naysayer to the rhapsodic reports on DiBruno's, if I may. Having been spoiled by the Cheese Board in Berkeley (after years of living in Paris), I find DiBruno's overrated, overpriced, and the service characterized by a kind of gruff heartiness that masks deep condescension. It's also an annoying place to shop (CC is almost as bad as Italian Market though for different reasons).

                    A FAR better option is SALUMERIA in the Reading Terminal Market. If you're lucky, you'll get Connie who really knows her cheeses and is a wonderful person to buy from. You can taste the different offerings and she'll mention that this week's Saint-Marcellin is a bit ripe or they have a lovely new sheep/cow cheese from Auvergne that you might want to taste and so on. Their pate (de campagne-- of pork) or mousse (with chicken liver) are bot fantastic and I'm a convert to the domestic Volpi's proscuitto (a St. Louis concern and far better than the average Parma we tend to get here). Enjoy!

                    And for bread, all you have to do is walk over a few aisles to the Metropolitan stand though those who have the time might find the schlep to West Philly's FOUR WORLD's BAKERY (Springfield and 48th) VERY well worth it. (Their croissants take me back to my time on rue Notre Dames des Champs...)

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: food diva

                      Four World's Bakery is excellent. Fortunately, Fair Food in RTM sells their breads on the shelf so no need to schlep to West Philly. You can also put in specific orders with them via their website, and they drop off weekly (twice I think) to various spots in the city including Fair Food. However, for croissants, may I recommend Artisan Boulanger Patissier at 12th & E Passyunk?

                      1. re: barryg

                        Stop telling people about Artisan Boulanger Patissier! They sell out quickly enough as is!

                        1. re: barryg

                          That's great -- because that was my other question -- where to get a good baguette -- not the wimply, fluffy "french" bread type...will have to check out Four World's!

                        2. re: food diva

                          Berkeley's Cheese Board is, I think, setting the bar pretty high... I haven't been there since '02, but back then they sold some very good Camembert, made with raw (non-pasteurized) milk. I was amazed when I tasted it - it was like what you'd get in Paris. And, if I understand correctly, totally illegal. ;-)

                          No, I've not seen anything that good in Philly. I do like the places in RTM, though - I think there's a divisino of labor there, with Salumeria for the Italian stuff, Downtown for French and English and Domestic.

                          1. re: Bob Loblaw

                            The good folks at The Grand Fromage in Skippack are doing a nice job there. They carry great breads from Souderton as well as some really nice Portuguese cheeses! Well worth the drive & you can enjoy a stroll through Skippack Village.

                            1. re: pamol07

                              I totally agree about The Grand Fromage and if you have a car, it's well worth the trip! Every time I go in there I'm offered lots of samples because they are just so excited about their products. I am crazy about the Soignon goat milk brie!
                              Claudio's has the BEST mozzarella I have ever taste.

                        3. Do you guys prefer Downtown Cheese to Salumeria? I guess they have a larger variety but I seem to stop at Salumeria more.

                          But Claudio's is my alltime favorite... just less convenient to reach for me.

                          Also Four Worlds has some of the bests bread in the city (umm and chocolate babka... I can't wait to pick mine up tomorrow from FFF :)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: padovana

                            Find the people at Downtown know their product better, which is ready when, and this brand is better than that brand kind of stuff.

                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              I'd agree. I have a pretty good handle on cheese but when I don't want to think about it I know I can ask, explain what I am having around the cheese and they will assemble a cheese course that works.