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Feb 24, 2011 03:04 PM

Best Cheese you've had from Formaggio Kitchen/ Wine and Cheese Cask

I did a search and found a few discussions of Formaggio Kitchen & The Cask, but most were just praising them in general as great sources for cheese. I'm wondering, what is everyone's favorite cheese from FK or The Cask?

Formaggio Kitchen
244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Wine and Cheese Cask
407 Washington St, Somerville, MA

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  1. Is there such a thing as a favorite cheese? With the selection at Formaggio I recommend giving the cheesemonger a few words of guidance and letting them choose what is reaching perfection at that moment. I like strong flavors and I'm partial to sheep's milk.

    Even if you have a cheese you love- for me it might be Berkswell out of Neal's Yard Dairy in England– I taste it before I buy a piece. The flavor will change from season to season and it may not be at the stage of ripeness that I like.

    Great moments in cheese are so fleeing that we actually send out alerts on our blog and direct ones to other cheese lovers when a great wheel of cheese, in exceptional condition is being cut somewhere.

    I'm about to do one for a wonderful piece of Cornish Yarg we bought at Whole Foods yesterday.

    So, my favorite cheese from any great cheese shop is the one recommended by a cheesemonger I trust as nearing perfection, after I have tasted it, and agree.

    This week, it would be the Cornish Yarg, a nice piece of Berkswell, and a center hunk of great Parm that I scored yesterday.


    Formaggio Kitchen
    244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

    18 Replies
    1. re: BostonZest

      Great Moments in Cheese....Love it - sounds like a SNL skit waiting to happen. Kristin Wiig as the cheesemonger.

      1. re: BostonZest

        I'm with you. To the original poster, it's like going into the Louvre and saying do you have a favorite painting. I suppose you may, but why pick just one. Formaggio has 100+ of my favorite cheeses and I have something different nearly every time I go...

        1. re: StriperGuy

          My intent in posting was to get a few names of cheeses to go in and try, as I'm not a cheese expert and want to expand and try some new things. People DO have favorite cheeses and paintings, even if they appreciate them all.

          BostonZest, thank you for the info you posted, it was very helpful.

          1. re: Karasto

            Really, BostonZest gave the best advice. Even with the crowds the people that work there are very helpful, knowledgeable, and happily give samples. And because there are so many cheeses, it might be helpful for someone like StriperGuy if you can narrow your search down. What cheeses to you like or dislike? How much do you want to spend? How do you want to eat the cheese (plain, in a dish, on bread, etc)?

            My favorite cheese: Bucheron

            1. re: Karasto

              If you want to explore, I suggest going off to any store that has a good cheese person behind the counter and explaining just what you have said. Also give a price range! Formaggio would be a super place to try that. I am less familiar with Wine and Cheese Cask. If Edward were still behind the counter at the Fresh Pond Whole Foods I would have suggested that you ask him. This would be a great way to get suggestions that match your taste and what is best in stock at a store at any given time. Plus, there is no substitute for a good relationship with a cheesemonger (or a fishmonger, butcher, produce person, or any other purveyor of good food).

              1. re: Karasto

                Most of us are simply perpetual students of wine, cheese and great food- welcome to the class! Wanting to learn, hanging around places where there is knowledge, and asking questions earns my respect.

                Here are a couple of places I've used to learn more about cheese. Obviously, we have the Formaggio site locally.

                And, always try the cheesemakers site if they have one.

                There are also some wonderful classes around Boston from the very formal ones taught at Boston University to guided tastings. Kitchenewares on Newbury has been doing some classes in wine and cheese with Ben from Boston Cheese Cellar is Roslindale.


              2. re: StriperGuy

                i guess that the OP might instead ask: what would you serve a naive guest to get him going in cheese. I would probably say Brie and a blue such as roquesfort or gorganzola.

                i can point out more highs in wine than in cheese.

                But Striper; point well taken.

                1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                  Naive is an interesting word choice. Did I really come across as someone who has never heard of brie or gorgonzola?

                  1. re: Karasto

                    I'm not really understanding the tone of the thread either. Obviously "favorite" will be subjective and possibly impossible to define, but I don't see how this is different than asking what's good to order at any given restaurant.

                    1. re: LeoLioness

                      I would definitely ask someone what their favorite dish at a given restaurant is. Is that crazy? If so, I'm in the wrong place.

                      1. re: Karasto

                        No, it is not crazy to ask. But, like any request for suggestions on Chowhound it's best if you at least give some parameters. It's conceivable that every cheese sold at FK is someone's favorite. So if you say "I don't like blues or I would like to better explore the cheeses of Italy", you will get better responses.

                        1. re: viperlush

                          Point taken, viperlush. I always give a "no blues" stipulation at Formaggio.

                          1. re: viperlush

                            That makes sense. Thank you.

                            Maybe I should have said "If you were going to die tomorrow and only got to eat one last cheese, what would it be?" I want to know what people are passionate about, regardless if it relates to my preferences. Hope that makes sense.

                            1. re: Karasto

                              If I were going to die tomorrow, and had an itch for cheese, I would walk over to Formaggio, nibble on the cheeses they have out for tasting, and try them all.

                              If I liked them I would buy some, if not I would look in the case, see what looked tasty, talk to one of the folks behind the counter, ask what they really like right now, and try that.

                              I guess for me going to Formaggio is more of a process, then a "best of."

                              If the Northern Italian, artisan made soft cheese that just arrived last month is perfectly ripe, and special right now, that would be my favorite cheese on that particular day.

                          2. re: Karasto

                            I don't think the comparison to a restaurant is really valid. Typical restaurant has maybe 10 entrees. Formaggio has 100+ cheeses, probably 200.

                            Would you say, "can someone reccomend their favorite car?" I think most would answer: "SUV, sportscar, minivan, econobox, hybrid, give us some more info."

                            Asking about a favorite cheese at Formaggio is the equivalent question: hard cheese, soft, stinky, raw milk, blue, washed rind, what price point, give us a little more info.

                            Personally I literally just walk into Formaggio and say "hit me" I taste a few, and buy 2 or three.

                            Even better, on any given day they have 5+ samples out for trying around the store. Nibble on those and buy one you like. Promise you won't be disappointed.

                        2. re: Karasto

                          no, but brie is called the king of cheeses. what i would recommend to someone starting to explore cheeses; i do not know you.

                          1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                            If you google, "King of Cheese," you get: Stilton and Parmigiano. Brie is called, "The King's Cheese." Goofy, I know.

                    2. re: BostonZest

                      >>>>Is there such a thing as a favorite cheese?<<<<


                    3. Not sure if Formaggio carries local cheeses, but I absolutely love Westfield Farm chocolate cheese. It's made with goat cheese so it has a little sharpness. It is absolutely amazing on a buttery cracker and topped with a fresh strawberry slice. That said, I agree, let the cheesmonger know what tastes you gravitate toward and let them recommend something.

                      1. As a somewhat naturally shy person, I find that the hardest part is forming an intelligent question when asked "can I help you". Combine that with the surroundings ($135 bottles of balsamic vinegar, and the customers that can afford that without thinking) and it's easy to get intimidated.
                        But - I'm there for a reason, so... I can usually stammer out a guideline of what I'm looking for....

                        "2 or 3 cheeses for 4 people to follow a grilled leg of lamb dinner with {Wine A}"....
                        "something to nosh on with {Port}"... "in this price range"...

                        I might throw in something like "Adventurous guests" or "not too stinky" (yes, that's an acceptable cheese descriptor).

                        I've never been looked down upon by the staff there. They're knowledgeable, and helpful! Think of what you'd like, and ask to try "something along the lines of..."

                        If I can do it, anyone can!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: okra

                          Awesome, thank you! I will definitely go in thinking in terms of pairings, hadn't thought of that.

                          1. re: Karasto

                            for soft stinky cheeses, a ripe Epoisse can't be beat (don't leave it out too long: you'll have to fumigate). when the christmas beaufort is in at formaggio, it's one of my favorite hard cheeses. I like stinky cheeses so ripe munster would have to be on my list and for goat cheese, the gorgeous spanish montenebro. the best thing is to try a bit, and the cheese folks at formaggio or at russos will always give you a taste. i like madeira with a cheese plate: seems to give a wonderful boost without being invasive.

                            1. re: teezeetoo

                              Check out Stranser Flada if you like Epoisse...

                        2. I definitely can't name a "best" and I do tend to try new things every time I go to FK, but two I do tend to return to often are Sennefladä, a soft, slightly stinky cow's milk cheese fro Switzerland and Leonora, a strong, soft goat cheese from Spain.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: LeoLioness

                            Both sound interesting, thank you!

                          2. As noted, a good cheese shop will push you towards what you need, rather than what you want. I went into Wasik's looking for Epoisses, and they steered me to a cheese they had just gotten in with a similar profile (stinky and runny) that came from a wheel the size of a monster truck tire. It was, needless to say, awesome (and of course I forgot what it was).