HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >

Discussion

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

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  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.

    Penny
    http://www.bostonzest.com/

    -----
    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 http://www.formaggiokitchen.com/shop/...

            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.
                http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/librar...
                http://www.murrayscheese.com/cheese_m...

                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.

                Penny
                http://www.bostonzest.com/

              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?<<<<

                      Parmigiano-Reggiano.

                    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}"....
                        or
                        "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).

                            1. by the way, my favorite cheeses are soft cheeses from France, Northern Italy, and the US. In general, quite ripe.

                              1. Apparently if you had simply asked for favorite cheeses plural you would have gotten a better response, as I found a thread from 2008 that basically asked the same question, except limited to Formaggio Kitchen. Here were the answers:
                                Bleu des Basques
                                Comte
                                Bayley Hazen Blue
                                Bartlett Blue
                                Cabot Clothbound Cheddar
                                Carlisle Chabichou and Midnight Mononlight
                                Beaufort
                                Mimiolette
                                Hillman Farm (any)
                                Pradera

                                I have to say that comte, clothbound cheddar, and Bleu des Basques are among my all-time favorites, but if you can tell the cheesemongers what you want (creamy, goat, mild, stinky, cow's milk, washed rind, etc) and are willing to say no after tasting something you don't like, it is hard to go wrong.

                                1. a few that I typically fall back on would include an aged gouda (such as Midnight Moon or Pradera), a blue (such as St Agur or Bleu d'Auvergne) and a triple creme (such as Delice de Bourgogne or Explorateur).

                                  1. Agree with what others have said here. They are very good at guiding you at FK and letting you sample a lot of stuff before you decide. Word to the wise, it can get quite crowded so go on an off hour (weekday?) if you want time to linger and discuss.

                                    Some of my favorites are any of their aged goudas, the Bayley Hazen blue, and when they have it, the lovely Vacherin Mont D'Or. I'm going to a British cheese class there this weekend, so I'm sure I'll have even more favorites soon.

                                    They are very good at telling you what is at the peak of ripeness, and don't overlook the charcuterie. It seems spendy from first glance, but you can get a nice sheet or two of something great and pick up a baguette and have the best meal at home. Enjoy!

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: yumyum

                                      I know the OP doesn't care for blue cheeses, but others reading here might.

                                      I took the British Invasion cheese class at Formaggio yesterday and of course came home with more favorites to add to my list of cheese loves.

                                      Formaggio sources most of their British cheese from Neal's Yard, and the highlight of the evening for me was the compare and contrast between Stilton and Stichelton. Colston Bassett Stilton is one of the cheeses closest to my heart but the Stichelton (a Stilton cousin) stood up proudly next to the king of cheeses. The textures are quite different (or were last night), and we also got the explanation from our monger that the Stichelton is more variable seasonally.

                                      Formaggio does nice pairings in their classes, and last night the blues were served with Coturri Primitivo (a Mendocino zinfandel that tasted a lot like a port to my untrained palate) as well as a square of dark chocolate and a few very spicy walnuts. Every bite a delight of sweet, salty, bitter, spicy and returning to sweet again.

                                      Other cheeses featured were Wensleydale, Caerphilly, Berkswell, a clothbound cheddar (Montgomery's from Somerset) and Coolea from Ireland.

                                      1. re: yumyum

                                        sounds delicious and I think the English and Irish cheeses are underrated. It's a funny thing but I think there is a nationality to cheeses that i can't define but i can tell if a cheese is from the UK vs Italy vs. France. Maybe it's the special mold that grows in the dank dark north or England's pleasant greenness.

                                        1. re: gourmaniac

                                          Just blues, or all cheeses? It's very impressive if you can spot the nationality of *any* cheese, given the wide variety available, the huge seasonal variations, etc.

                                        2. re: yumyum

                                          Sounds awesome.

                                          Those Coturri wines are often excellent brutish monsters that don't easily fit into a particular category. Noone makes wines quite like them.

                                          1. re: yumyum

                                            yumyum, that class sounds awesome. I love Colston Bassett Stilton and now will look for Stichelton. I also recommend Cashel Blue (Ireland) an all-round great blue. And Montgomery Cheddar is probably my favorite cheddar. I have this cheese book that describes one of its waves of flavor as a bit of mustard and a sunday roast. Eating it I always think of Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka having an entire meal in a piece of gum.

                                        3. A few months ago I was in a silly mood, strolled into Formaggio's and asked in a baritone voice, "SO! What is the best cheese you got?"

                                          The person helping me didn't bat an eye and said, "This Grand Cru Comte, we just got it in, want a taste?"

                                          We had a good chuckle.

                                          1. I add my voice to those urging you to put yourself in the hands of the FK staff, after telling them roughly what sorts of things you like and what you want to spend. I'd suggest that asking us for the best cheese we've had is not so much like asking what's good to eat at a particular restaurant. It's more like going to a street with a variety of restaurants serving the cuisines of different countries and asking what the best dish is. The answer will depend on whether you like Chinese or Indian or French food. One person's best dish might well be another person's worst. This is very much the case with cheese. If you like stinky, washed rind cheeses you may love a ripe Epoisses. If you don't, you may not even be able to stand near it. There's also the question of ripeness and over-ripeness. I might recommend Vacherin Mont D'Or to you. But if you hit a wheel that's past its prime, all you'll get is a runny mess of liquid ammonia. Trust us and put your trust in the FK staff.

                                            10 Replies
                                              1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                I have to admit a 'soft spot' for Mont D'Or. Around Christmas I usually buy a round for the family, stick it in the oven at 175-200 F for a brief time, and then we gather around with some nice crusty bread and dunk in. Soooo good. We started doing this because my sister lived in Paris for a while and she was familiar with the cheese and how it's sometimes served like this. I brought it home because I just liked it, but serving it warm really brought out the mushroom like aromas and all sorts of nuances. I've never had fondue, but I don't really see any need to try it quite honestly. I believe it's around 25 bucks for a hefty wood enclosed round that weighs about a pound, maybe half a kilo, enough for 3-5 people to enjoy as a evening snack.

                                                Another seasonal even more unctuous cheese is one who's name I cannot recall. I believe it may be around springtime, so I'll start asking for it soon. It's a normal size Camembert made by a woman in the French Alps who owns five cows. It's pretty 'advanced' meaning stinky, but so delicious. It always has a fern leaf on top and it's usually by the front glass case housing expensive smaller cheeses above the prepared foods cooler.

                                                So those are two more unusual cheeses in the Camembert style that I always think about when I walk in.

                                                FK, it goes without saying, meets customer expectation by generous sampling. I went yesterday wanting blue cheese for salad, he started me off with a standard gorgonzola, He asked me, "You want milder or more bite?" I asked for more "tang", and he said "Ok, we'll switch to sheep's milk." Tried a couple of those till I got the 'bite' I wanted with an appropriate crumble for salad and a little extra something, in this case those crunchy salt crystals I love in some cheeses like aged Comte. 3 bucks more a pound than standard Gorgonzola, but for a small 1/4 lb. sliver for salad at 5 bucks, well worth it for me.

                                                And that's the way it goes, you throw a horse shoe in the general direction, and then they keep picking it up and tossing it nearer the pole till it hits. I always walk out with a cheese that's a little better than I had hoped.

                                                  1. re: tatsu

                                                    Not Le Fougerus is it (although not a camembert) ?

                                                    http://www.cheesesupply.com/product_i...

                                                    Excellent, funky, tangy stuff though I don't think I've seen it retail in the US.

                                                    1. re: Nab

                                                      Sure looks it but the branding doesn't look familiar, perhaps it's a large-scale production of the original like the description suggests. Thanks for looking that up!

                                                      1. re: tatsu

                                                        I was so curious I called FK, they don't have Le Fougerus right now and no one can remember such a small-scale production cheese in recent memory.... It might of been 6-7 years ago to be honest and now I'm thinking it was the Swiss Alps... time flies.

                                                        One sad comment he had was that these micro-scale French cheeses just don't exist anymore, he only knew of one or two extant.

                                                        1. re: tatsu

                                                          Very sad, indeed, tatsu. Reminds me of how sad I felt when I listened to an NPR show years ago about how the pizzerias in Italy were having a difficult time getting the younger generation to continue with the craft.

                                                          1. re: threedogs

                                                            And the same with Dim Sum chefs in HK....

                                                          2. re: tatsu

                                                            Thanks for the follow-up info ! Was curious if they were "holdin" some of that four-week raw stuff.

                                                            1. re: tatsu

                                                              If you google Le Fougerus, you will find, easily, at least three suppliers who will ship it to you within 24 hours.

                                                    2. Have you tried the cheese counter at Russo's? The person who runs it used to work at FK. Prices are much lower. I quit FK when I saw the $54 for a pound of cheese to make fondue. That's about triple what it costs if you buy the same cheeses at Wine Cask & Russo's. Further, the snoot factor at FK among counter people is overwhelming and silly. To say nothing of cured meats that are nothing like their labels; for example, Bunderfleish they sell there at $27 or so per pound I tossed out as it was more like a watery roasted beef than the real thing.

                                                      71 Replies
                                                      1. re: scotty27

                                                        I am torn on Formaggio. It is truly a remarkable place, and noone else even comes close in terms of aging and handling of cheeses. I am sure Russo's just stores them in a fridge, while Formaggio is one of the few places (the only???) in the US that is actually set up with a cheese cave to ripen them properly.

                                                        That said, $54 a pound, for any cheese, is just madness.

                                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                                          It was a bag of mixed, shredded cheeses. Yeah, the cave at FK is interesting. The guy who runs the cheese counter at Russo's? Mark Trumble. He built that cave at FK for Ihsan.

                                                          1. re: scotty27

                                                            That's absurd for shredded fondue cheese. But Russo's ain't got no cave.

                                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                                              Most of the cheeses at Formaggio come aged in caves elsewhere. Unless they are aging cheeses themselves, you don't need to store cheeses already cave aged in caves. In fact, cellaring a cheese that has already been cave aged will age it and change the character developed by the cheese-maker. The best cheese stores in Switzerland, France, Italy, and the US do not cave age their own cheeses. The reason we all pay more for cave aged, raw milk cheeses is because they have been developed by experts--like Rolf Beeler, who FK does not carry--rather than the shops.

                                                              1. re: scotty27

                                                                Are you saying that Mark Trumble misled the people at Formaggio Kitchen on the value of a cave?

                                                                I don't think FK is pretending to replace the aging of cheeses in genuine caves with theirs. But the fact is that cheeses have to be stored in an environment with the right temperature, humidity, etc., before they are sold. And some *must* age further before they are fully ripe. It is this that the FK cave provides.

                                                                -----
                                                                Formaggio Kitchen
                                                                244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                  I'm saying that Mark Trumble was paid to do a great job of building a cave that has value in cellaring raw milk cheeses that need to be aged to reach maturity. I cannot honestly think of a Swiss cheesemaker who releases cheeses to retail sites that then require more aging to be ready.

                                                                  1. re: scotty27

                                                                    If a Swiss cheesemaker released a wheel of Vacherin Mont d'Or (made on both sides of the border) just when it was ready, I cannot imagine an airline that would carry it. It would be like the time I stayed in a rented dwelling on a professional visit. There was a mini-fridge on the premises. I put my stinky cheese there. (I never travel without.) When I returned from what passes for work the next evening, I found the maids had opened every window to air the place out. They must have thought they had a guest with really compelling BO.

                                                                    1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                      I'm referring to semi-hard cheeses of Switzerland primarily, but not exclusively. Even Stanser Flada, a very stinky cheese, is sold when ready to eat. Airlines never refuse the product based on smell. You might have it confiscated at Logan, however, by an eager beagle sniffing out raw milk cheeses under 90 days. One reason why no cheesemaker in Switzerland never releases cheeses that still need more ripening is that, as you know, cellaring creates character. Beeler, for example, would object to a cheese sold under his name that, having been cellared not under his name, does not taste as he intended. The purpose of a cellar in a shop is to start from scratch: Get the unfinished cheese from a dairy, age the cheese yourself, put your name--FK, let's say--on it. That's a great idea, but that is not the case here.

                                                                2. re: scotty27

                                                                  Now I'm curious - it sounds like FK and Wasik's tout the cave as a perfect place to ripen or store a cheese. Do some cheesemakers release cheeses that require further ripening? Is a regular refrigerator a better place to store a fully ripened cheese?

                                                                  1. re: nsenada

                                                                    My belly is the best place to store a fully ripened cheese.

                                                                    1. re: nsenada

                                                                      The question is cellaring vs storage. No cheesemaker I know sells cheeses requiring more cellaring. They do require proper storage and except for hard cheese like parmigiano are meant to be eaten quickly. Cellar is a stage in production. When complete, the cheese is sold.

                                                                      1. re: scotty27

                                                                        i am pretty sure that formaggio stores cheese until it is ripe; that is what was told to me by a cheese guy at the Wine Cask

                                                                        1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                          Cheese is sold by cheesemakers like Willy Schmidt or Rolf Beeler ready to eat. There's a reason why places like Artisanal, Globus, Zingerman's, etc. don't have cellars, and why, unless you are making cheese yourself, under your label, you don't need a cellar. These places store the cheese is 42-50 degrees. When Beeler sells his cheese, he objects to further cellaring of the product. That's one reason you won't find it at FK.

                                                                          1. re: scotty27

                                                                            From the blog on the Artisanal website: "we do nurture cheeses in our caves where they undergo steady ripening. .... place the cheese in a place in the caves where it will develop at the rate where it will be ready when it is requested. We prefer to receive our cheeses on the young side; that way we can bring them along as they are requested, without having some that end up being overripe."

                                                                            1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                              Correct. Max McCalman then releases them under the Artisanal label. They are his cheeses. Not what is happening at FK.

                                                                              1. re: scotty27

                                                                                Ah, it's the labeling that has you so worked up, not the cellaring and aging. To the untrained eye it might appear otherwise.

                                                                                I'm not sure what role the Artisanal label plays in anything. If you go to their cheese counter, they don't say to you "these are Max's cheeses". They say pretty much what they say at FK: "this is a cheese from a small producer in France, this one is from sheep in the Alps fed only the finest hazelnuts, ground by a master grinder", etc. You chat, you taste, you buy. They wrap the cheese and slap on a sticker that says Artisanal, much like they slap on a sticker at FK that carries their name. What's the difference?

                                                                                1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                  They are his cheeses. He produces them. From the Artisanal site: "Max McCalman is America's first restaurant-based Maître Fromager." McCalman differentiates between the cheeses he does not age--Rolf Beeler's--and those he helps to produce. If FK is in the business of producing cheeses, that's welcome news.

                                                                                  1. re: scotty27

                                                                                    "They are his cheeses. He produces them."

                                                                                    Somebody should tell him that. Neither he nor Artisanal seem as aware of this as you are. Throughout the website, cheeses are listed as hand-selected by McCalman, or highly praised by him, or picked by him to pair with wine or beer, or collections of cheeses as assembled by him. Nowhere does it say that cheeses are produced by him, not even in places where he talks in the first person.

                                                                                    You speak with such certainty, yet your facts ....

                                                                                    1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                      If McCalman is cellaring to age the cheeses and then putting his label on them, he is part of the production process. If he is selecting and storing them, he isn't. McCalman works very closely with Caroline Hostettler, Rolf Beeler's US importer, on selecting the best cheeses of Switzerland, none of which you will find at FK. By best, I mean the cheeses that win international competitions, are written about by critics, and are selected by McCalman. Ms. Hostettler had a retail shop in Florida, which she closed and has her cheeses available now wholesale only: www.qualitycheese.net. Next time you're in FK, why not ask why they don't carry these cheeses.

                                                                                      1. re: scotty27

                                                                                        i am not sure how one stores a cheese without aging it.

                                                                                        1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                                          Storing means keeping the "finished" cheese at proper temperatures while waiting to sell it. Cellaring a cheese means taking a cheese into a cellar that requires more aging. Different temperatures, different process, different time period. As I said, in Europe, the top shop-keepers I've interviewed do not cellar their cheeses: They store them. They feel that cellaring requires an expertise they do not have as vendors. Here, apparently, FK is acting as a cheese-maker. The top cheese-makers of Switzerland and most raw, hard and semi-hard cow's milk producers release their cheeses fully aged for two main reasons: 1. Risk of bacteria in uncontrolled cellars--cellars they do not monitor. 2. They are content with the character of their cheese.

                                                                                2. re: scotty27

                                                                                  Not specific to Max McCalman or any other specific producer, but this is what Wasick's has to say about aging on their web site:

                                                                                  "Much to do has been made over “cheese caves” of late. While some newcomers to the cheese industry may think this is a novelty or a recent development in purveying cheese, we have never made a big stink (pardon the pun) over our curing facility. Quite frankly, we have always assumed that curing cheeses in the appropriate conditions and bringing them to their optimum stage of ripeness before sale is not expected only of us, but of any proper cheese shop.

                                                                                  Our ripening cellar was obtained from Dietz’s Bar in Waltham in 1966. Roughly 3,000 cubic feet, this old wooden barroom refrigerator contains the ideal amount of airflow and humidity to serve as a perfect environment in which to nurture cheese. Since it was acquired over 40 years ago, it has served as the temporary home to countless ripening wheels of cheese. Every workday begins with a check of the curing cellar --flipping, rotating, squeezing, plugging, and deciding which cheeses are ready for sale.

                                                                                  Controlling the natural ripeness of cheese under proper conditions to achieve complete fermented bliss is called “affinage.” As second-generation cheesemongers and affinuers, Brad and I have accumulated years of experience, knowledge, and trucs in the lessons passed down from our father. We spend a lot of time procuring the right cheeses to nurture in our cellar and are very proud of every piece that leaves through our front door. We hope you enjoy.

                                                                                  S. Brian Wasik
                                                                                  Cheesemonger, Cellar Manager"

                                                                                  1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                    That makes sense as long as the aim is preservation of the cheese-maker's finished product. I guess what I really, honestly don't understand is why the European retailers never cellar or age the cheeses they buy from producers while the American shopkeepers do. The product, in Europe, is considered finished: Good to go. Here, it seems that the shopkeepers are thinking that further cellaring adds to the product. I do not get it.

                                                                                    Another thing I don't get: the 250-300% mark up here at chi-chi cheese shops. Emperor's New Clothes?

                                                                                    Me? I order from Zabars & Artisanal & go to Salumeria Italiana & Russo's. I wish FK was better. I really do. But all respect to the owners! They meet the demands of customers who don't mind paying more for less. It has been a good business model. Who am I to knock it?

                                                                                    Of course: In today's Internet age, the days of overpriced retail are numbered. When any of us can buy cheeses superior to FK at 50% less on the Internet, why go to FK? It's like going to a good local bookstore. Convenient if you're in the neighborhood.

                                                                                    But, like Amazon, or coffee, meats, etc: No reason to buy from a local shop where the prices do not have value. It's an outdated business model.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Salumeria Italiana
                                                                                    151 Richmond St, Boston, MA 02109

                                                                                    1. re: scotty27

                                                                                      "European retailers never cellar or age the cheeses they buy from producers while the American shopkeepers do. "

                                                                                      Again with the certainty.

                                                                                      The Wall Street Journal listed their top ten choices among European cheese stores last year. I've bought cheese in Europe, but have never looked into their aging practices (although I remember a store in Amsterdam that was aging its own Goudas). So I checked some of the websites on the WSJ list:

                                                                                      Alléosse (Paris)
                                                                                      http://www.fromage-alleosse.com/froma...

                                                                                      "We have four large cellars, which enables us to have seasonally from 150 to 200 varieties of cheeses that is to say up to 20.000 units: some products are very seasonal. The cheeses are aged at low temperature in an atmosphere of a hygrometric rate of 85 with nearly 100%."

                                                                                      Luigi Guffanti (near Milan)
                                                                                      http://www.guffantiformaggi.com/index...

                                                                                      "When great-grandfather Luigi Guffanti, in 1876, began to season Gorgonzola cheese, his brilliant intuition was to purchase an abandoned silver mine in Valganna, in the Varese province. In the mine, with its temperature and humidity constant year-round, the cheese matured so well that Luigi quickly cornered the markets ... Experience gained by processing the Gorgonzola has gradually been transferred to the Tomas of the Ossola Alpine pastures, the Reggiano Parmesan, all the cheeses, Italian, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese..."

                                                                                      L'Amuse (Haarlem, near Amsterdam)
                                                                                      http://www.lamuse.nl/

                                                                                      Google translates the opening lines of the website as "l'amuse sells more than 400 cheeses from the shops. After refining in a climate of three cells, the cheeses are suitable for restaurants, which, as much as possible is supplied with its own refrigerated transport. Maturity is desired by the customer filled."

                                                                                      LA FROMAGERIE (London)
                                                                                      http://www.lafromagerie.co.uk/cheese-...

                                                                                      "Farmhouse cheeses are sourced directly from artisan producers, delivered directly to our door and then carefully matured in our onsite maturing rooms to peak condition by our in-house affineurs."

                                                                                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                        Thank you FoodDabbler. I also know for a fact that Formaggio ages some of the cheeses they sell. I've discussed this at length with Gurdal.

                                                                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                          The NYT has an interesting article on the aging of cheeses by cheese purveyors, a practice called affinage: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/05/din... . Read it till you get to the taste tests at the end. Then read this amusing piece by one of the participants in our discussion some months ago: http://shrinkinthekitchen.com/2011/10... .

                                                                                          1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                            Funny thing is, if you get to the end of the NY times article, it shows that shrink in the kitchen is actually,,, WRONG. When they do the taste taste, the uncellared cheeses from Fairway (1/2 the price of the others) are essentially spoiled.

                                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                              Yes, that was a funny thing. It's also funny to take potshots at a board from the outside because you lost an argument here.

                                                                                              Cheese is a funny thing. Good cheeses end up being expensive because they have to be handled carefully. We just have to live with that and eat them in moderation. Better for your health that way, too. Making high-fat food widely and cheaply available is probably not a good thing overall.

                                                                                            2. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                              I find that blog entry somewhat hypocritical, considering his posts here were strongly opinionated. Ah well, many get into the field of clinical psychology looking for answers for themselves

                                                                  2. re: StriperGuy

                                                                    While Russo's does have some great values, SG's probably right about their storage. I have gotten some off cheeses there, and you can tell just by looking at some that they they are way past prime (I saw some Robiola that looked brownish on the outside, and some taleggio that had some nasty mold on it).

                                                                    My go-to place for cheese is Wasik's - pretty sure they have a cave, are super-friendly, and their prices are about the same as Russo's. They also have given me very generous freebies on occasion, and practically force you to taste multiple cheeses until you pass out.

                                                                    I am ashamed to admit I've never been to FK, and I even have a gift card that's been kicking around for a while now - must get over there soon.

                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                      Wasick's is a bit further out, however they definitely match Formaggio in terms of aging and handling of cheeses. I would say that the prices are comparable, as is staff expertise. I think Wasick's has a broader cheese selection. Formaggio definitely offers more beyond just the cheese though.

                                                                      I prefer shopping as Wasick's as the space is just not as cramped. Everytime I am at Fomaggio I feel like the other customers (who can be a bit entitled) are running over me in that small corridor.

                                                                      Russos is good in a pinch if I don't have time for another stop, however they are a notch below Formaggio or Wasicks.

                                                                    2. re: scotty27

                                                                      I have bought plenty of fine cheeses at Russo's and yes, sometimes its cheaper. But not always. For some reason I am picturing everything pre-cut and plastic-wrapped at Russo's. I could be wrong about this. For many cheese, plastic wrap is not good for the cheese. It need to breathe a bit more. (Do I occasionally use plastic wrap at home? Sure. But for a really spectacular cheese I usually just buy it and eat that day.)

                                                                      In general, I found the cheese to be fresher and the quality much higher at FK. But as scotty27 says, if there is a one cheese in particular that you like, it is good to double check at other sources. I've never had cheese fondue. Is there a particular cheese you are supposed to use for that?

                                                                      1. re: heypielady

                                                                        I agree about the plastic. You can buy cheese at Russo's that is not wrapped. Actually, the cheese at FK is also wrapped in plastic in the display cases.

                                                                        Re FK: The other cheese genius who worked there is Matt Rubiner. He has a terrific cheese shop in Great Barrington. Unpretentious, well-priced.

                                                                        The only place I've seen cheeses marked up higher than FK is Zingerman's, but they have an excuse being the one great cheese vendor in lovely, tiny Ann Arbor. FK has no excuse.

                                                                        Cheese fondue is regional so it varies, but a classic and easy combo is 2/3 Gruyere and 1/3 Emmental.

                                                                      2. re: scotty27

                                                                        Can you give me details on the $54 bag? When did you see it at FK? I've shopped there for 18 years and have never seen anything there as overpriced as that. I've also never experienced the snoot factor among counter people of which you speak. I've worked my way through several generations of staff. Some are friendlier than others, but that's a human variation not a reflection of institutional policy. You mention Matt Rubiner positively elsewhere in this thread. I knew him well and he was indeed very knowledgeable. But he left FK after a disagreement with Ihsan. If you're close to people who have left FK in unhappy circumstances it may color your views of the store. The FK you criticize both here and in other threads is nothing like the store I know.

                                                                        It's not a perfect store, I know. The bundnerfleisch is weak, as are some other meats. Part of the reason is the difficulty of importing meat into the U.S. Several things they are forced to carry are U.S. products, not the "real things" from Europe.

                                                                        1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                          On the counter when you come in the door to the cheese area.

                                                                          I wasn't talking about Matt and Ihsan, but the difference between the stores.

                                                                          You can get real Bunderfleish many places. Google it.

                                                                        2. re: scotty27

                                                                          You keep talking about this snoot factor and I have just never seen it in 10+ years. Care to elaborate?

                                                                          1. re: tatsu

                                                                            I'm not buying the snootiness complaint at the cheese counter. Almost everyone is enthusiastic and helpful, and there are (or have recently been) a few folks I'd call dour, but they knew their cheese and definitely wouldn't be classified as snooty. I've seen some steep prices for cheese, but I can't recall anything over $35/lb or so, and certainly no prices like that for a cheese mix. And hey, no one is forcing you to buy the Comte Grand Cru at that price. You know, if the market bears it...

                                                                            I do object to their significant markup on wine over other places (although they also have some producers that no one else in the area has), as well as their wine storage. I'm also less than enthused with the customer base in that area.

                                                                            In the end, though, I don't think you can beat them on cheese quality and selection, and I've had stellar service there over the years.

                                                                            1. re: klm4

                                                                              Chalk me up to the "I've never gotten even a smidge of bad attitude from the staff" contingent.

                                                                              And I have a rather well developed snoot-radar ;-).

                                                                              That said, the clientele can be enough to cause me to commit seppuku right there in the isle.

                                                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                "the clientele can be enough to cause me to commit seppuku"

                                                                                It's that tatsu and his baritone voice.

                                                                                Yes, the customers can be snooty. But I've found the staff at FK handle that fairly well.

                                                                                1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                  Yah, I'm actually kind of amazed the extent to which they DO keep their cool as they are asked to jump through all sorts of kooky Huron Village hoops by some of the clientele.

                                                                                2. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                  Yup, I haven't had snooty service either at the Cambridge location.

                                                                                  And at the South End location I've some of the friendliest and most enthusiastic service I've ever experienced.

                                                                                  One guy I usually get there says hello like he recognizes me....which I don't know if he does or not but that's nice. He come out from behind the counter looks at the cheese from my perspective points to one's he likes, gives me lots to try, helps me match a wine and give me a firm handshake at the end of it all. I walk out of there buying way more cheese then I planned and feeling great.

                                                                                  1. re: heypielady

                                                                                    Aaaah, good salespersonship doesn't really involve "SELLING" at all...

                                                                                  2. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                    I think you're right about the clientete: The snoot factor is probably in response to that.

                                                                                    1. re: scotty27

                                                                                      Well I lived in that neighborhood for some time I never felt it was very snooty. People there do act differently, generally people have trouble communicating, some of them are kind of not aware of what is going on around them. It's a bit ivory tower syndrome, with a bit of liberal dreamer and indecisiveness mixed in. These people are peacenik shoe-gazers who ended up making money, you know?

                                                                                      It's nothing like the sense of entitlement from people in Newton or ugh, Wellesley. Now we are talking snooty, selfish, crass, totally money conscious behaviors. I call West Cambridge the suburbs of Cambridge, but Newton and Wellesley are such caricatures of the nouveau rich.

                                                                                      While we are talking money money money, I tend to buy onsale cheeses (max $20/lb) and cheap cheeses at WF Alewife and $25/lb and up cheeses at FK. For me that's a good way to divy up the cheese funds, or, uh, 'chedda'. I like 'nice' cheese as much as anyone but also love Cabot Pepper Jack, I eat half a brick late at night easy.

                                                                                      Also lately I've been nostalgic for that totally 70's or 80's supermarket day-glo orange soft cheddar spread with purple port wine swirls. WF has a fou-fou version of it but it's not err, 'cheesy' enough. May have to slum it at Star Market soon. And grow a mustache.

                                                                                      1. re: tatsu

                                                                                        Another great place that suddenly comes to mind is Salumeria Italiana in the North End. Beautiful cheeses.

                                                                                        And since we're talking prices, compare the burrata price at FK to any other cheese shop anywhere. It's double.

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Salumeria Italiana
                                                                                        151 Richmond St, Boston, MA 02109

                                                                                        1. re: tatsu

                                                                                          Another point that underscores the saintliness of the staff at Wasik's - they deal with the above-referenced effete narcissists of Wellesley daily and are still genuinely kind to all, and enthusiastic about their goods. If it was me behind the counter, I would have shoved a ripe Livarot down the windpipe of some of the whiny, entitled biatches I've had to endure there.

                                                                                          1. re: nsenada

                                                                                            That's very funny. I think, perhaps, like many in the hospitality industry, they must turn it into some kind of a game. And also trade war stories later...over wine & cheese!

                                                                                          2. re: tatsu

                                                                                            I don't think it's Huron Village locals who are snooty. FK is a destination and people come there from all over.

                                                                                    2. re: tatsu

                                                                                      Customer asks for Gruyere for fondue. Gets lecture on what other cheeses might be better, where Gruyere comes from, why Rolf Beeler's cheeses aren't good.
                                                                                      Customer asks for less expensive turkey, is sold the house turkey which, at $18 a pound, is 80% higher than every other store in the city.
                                                                                      Customer brings in cheese that is obviously sold past its prime; told he's wrong.
                                                                                      Etc.

                                                                                      1. re: scotty27

                                                                                        I've never experienced anything remotely like that at Formaggio Kitchen, nor have I witnessed anything like that, nor has anybody I know told me a story like that. The uniformly positive comments on this board also suggest that experiences like this are rare. I don't doubt that they happened to you or to people you know. But perhaps, as Michael Corleone observed to Moe Green, you're just unlucky.

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Formaggio Kitchen
                                                                                        244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                        1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                          Hey, it happens. More to the point is the huge mark-up on cheeses. I wouldn't care if the staff was as friendly as Caspar. Go on the net, compare their prices to Russo's, Murray's, Zabar's, Artisanal, and even Dean & Deluca. The one place pricier is Zingerman's.

                                                                                          1. re: scotty27

                                                                                            I buy cheese promiscuously, taking my pleasure where I can find it. I shop at Murray's often -- I have one foot in Cambridge, the other in Manhattan -- and at Artisanal occasionally (more so in the past). I buy cheese at the Union Square Greenmarket. Recently I've bought boatloads of cheese at Eataly. I haven't noticed a huge, systematic difference in price between FK and these places. But, I thought, scotty27 is an honorable man. I should check. I made a list of 5 cheeses that I like (note to OP: a list at last!) and got their prices from the Murray's and FK websites:

                                                                                            Hooligan (Cato Corner):
                                                                                            M: $43.99/lb
                                                                                            FK: $33.96/lb

                                                                                            Epoisses:
                                                                                            M: $20/wheel
                                                                                            FK: $20.95/wheel

                                                                                            Parmiggiano-Reggiano:
                                                                                            M: $19.99--24.99/lb
                                                                                            FK: $23.95--27.95/lb

                                                                                            Cabot Clothbound Cheddar:
                                                                                            M: $21.99/lb
                                                                                            FK:$22.96/lb

                                                                                            Roquefort:
                                                                                            M: $29.99/lb (d'Argental)
                                                                                            FK: $37.96/lb (Vieux Berger) -- $43.96/lb (Carles)

                                                                                            The one cheese with a big price difference against FK is Roquefort, but we're talking about different types. Formaggio once did a tasting of 7 different Roqueforts from 7 different caves in France. There were substantial differences in quality and price. There are similar variations among Parmiggianos.

                                                                                            The Hooligan price at Murray's is puzzling and I think their website has an error. They list the cheese as "full wheel" then price it by pound. I buy my Hooligan by the full wheel, but from the source at the Cato Corner stall at the Union Sq. Greenmarket. so I don't know what the true price is at Murray's.

                                                                                            I add that you get better service at FK than at Murray's or even Artisanal. If there's a small difference in price for that, I'm happy to pay it. I'm talking not just about superficial (but important) things such as courtesy, etc. There's a deeper level of service they provide: See http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7308... .

                                                                                            1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                              I once needed Mostarda di Cremona on the fly and had run out of my supply @ $4.95/container. The only local source was FK: $17.95 for the same brand and size.

                                                                                              1. re: almansa

                                                                                                What brand was it and what were the preserved fruits in it?

                                                                                                1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                                  It's been a while, but I think it was Dondi, packed in a white tin with a snap-off top. There were apricots, cherries, pears and maybe figs. They've updated the packaging (if Dondi was the brand), and I see mustard oil among the ingredients, which it didn't have back then. I bought them from a company called Gourmand in Virginia, as did FK, which has since gone out of business.

                                                                                                  1. re: almansa

                                                                                                    Thanks for the reply. I want to make it clear that I don't doubt your experience in the slightest, and it's bad that you had to pay three times as much. Did you ask them why the price was higher than you expected?

                                                                                                    A couple of comments: I think mostardas have always had mustard oil or some mustard component. Hence their name. The appeal lies in the marriage of pungent and sweet. But people *may* have hidden the presence of mustard oil because there were concerns about it being not good for you. (You can google "mustard oil unfit for human consumption" without the quotes.) Formaggio now carries a brand called Fieschi, which is expensive but doesn't cost more than it costs elsewhere. The exact fruit content affects the price, which is why I asked.

                                                                                                    Was this a single item experience for you, or have you found other prices at FK to be higher than elsewhere for exactly the same item? I confess that I'm not as price-aware as I should be, but my general impression of prices at Formaggio is that they are not higher than at other places of comparable quality. You can get away with a reasonable and varied lunch there for example -- a sandwich, a piece of fruit, some nuts -- for less than many places in Cambridge.

                                                                                                    1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                                      I make mostarda with mustard oil, but I recall the ingredients then being mustard seed (mustard), sugar and water. And my mustard oil does say "for external use only" which I find amusing, then ignore. BTW, I like the Laxmi brand.

                                                                                              2. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                                Hey, Doc, as long as we're comparing. This is Artisanal, selected by the best cheese guy in the US, Max McCAlman:

                                                                                                Epoisses: $27/lb--FK--$20.95
                                                                                                Parmigiano Reggiano: $17/lb--FK: $23.95-27.95
                                                                                                Roquefort (Carles): $31.26/lb---FK: $43.96

                                                                                                Comparing prices, FK is much less on the Epoisses, more more on the two other cheeses.

                                                                                                I am sure that, cheese by cheese, FK is more. And one has to ask: Why doesn't the shop carry the cheeses of Rolf Beeler, widely acknowledged as the best cheesemaker in Switzerland. They did once, they don't any longer.

                                                                                                Artisanal doesn't carry Hooligan or Cabot.

                                                                                                1. re: scotty27

                                                                                                  Unless you have the time to compare the prices of 200 cheeses, we will have to leave it at your impressions versus mine. Of course, you're wrong and I'm right, but I'm willing to live with it.

                                                                                                  I'm curious why you keep calling me doc. Do I seem like I could cure anyone?

                                                                                                  1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                                    I think you're right about the Epoisses. I think we're both right about the huge mark-up of cheeses at FK.

                                                                                        2. re: tatsu

                                                                                          I had a such an awful experience the first time I went to FK that I've been hesitant to try it out again, and my BF vows to never step foot in there again. I purchased a Groupon and was so excited to try it out. We're both college students, it's a little out of the way and expensive so this was a great opportunity. It was a bit overwhelming, much more crowded than we had expected and we were afraid of breaking some very pricey glass bottles of vinegars because we both came with our backpacks. Confused by the large crowd around the cheese counter, I decided to pick up some yummy looking cookies and baked goods and come back another day for the cheese.

                                                                                          We made our way to the cashier but the Groupon app had trouble loading because there's zero signal in the area, so we excused ourselves and stepped outside to see if we could pull it up. The girl cashier was extremely impatient with us. We got it open, got back in line and hoped for another cashier. Waited in line for a few minutes and she opened up so we stepped up. She then responds "the line is over there. You need to get to the back of the line" and points to the exact spot we had been waiting at! The rest of the people in line looked puzzled as well and they all said we were waiting before them, so she pissily rang us up. Got a bottle of olive oil that came with the groupon. On the drive back to Providence, the cork cap came undone somehow and the entire bottle emptied onto the floor of the Zipcar. Worst day ever.

                                                                                          1. re: berber

                                                                                            If that's your worst day ever, you are way ahead of the game.

                                                                                            1. re: berber

                                                                                              Unfortunately, unless you're a regular or intimidated by shopkeepers, that experience is typical of mine, too.

                                                                                              1. re: scotty27

                                                                                                Really? I go there maybe twice a year. They don't know me from Adam (or Eve for that matter). I've never felt mistreated by anyone at FK.

                                                                                                1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                                                                                  It's down the street from where I live. The cashiers are nice. The owners are very nice. The cook is nice. Snooty to a fault, but nice.

                                                                                          2. re: scotty27

                                                                                            The one time I got cheese from Russo's it turned out to be inedible as it had turned to a mess of ammonia. Russo's and Whole Foods despite having reasonable cheese counters are not really staffed sufficiently to allow people to taste things or cut to order, which is a key component of a good cheese counter for me.

                                                                                            1. re: nickls

                                                                                              Same thing happened to me 2x at FK. To their credit, they took it back.

                                                                                              1. re: scotty27

                                                                                                You should also try Wasik's cheese shop. Awesome people and you can taste anything they have. Also good at providing recommendations, just tell them a few kinds you like and they pull 3-4 different options for you to taste. They have an aged Goude that is awesome, has crystals in it!

                                                                                                http://www.wasiks.com/

                                                                                              2. re: nickls

                                                                                                I'll just say I often taste cheeses and have them cut to order at Russo's. It's never been a problem.

                                                                                                1. re: hurm

                                                                                                  I agree. The cheese guy, Mark Trumble, looks to give out samples.

                                                                                            2. I'll just list some personal faves:

                                                                                              Langres
                                                                                              Vacherin Mont d'Or
                                                                                              St Agur
                                                                                              Blue Ledge Lake's Edge Chevre
                                                                                              Rawson Brook Chevre
                                                                                              Gruyere
                                                                                              Raclette
                                                                                              Tete de Moine
                                                                                              Piave
                                                                                              Fleur de Maquis
                                                                                              Brillat Savarin
                                                                                              Lake Champlain Triple Creme
                                                                                              Boerenkaas
                                                                                              Idiazabal
                                                                                              St Marcellin

                                                                                              to name a few, and not in any order...

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: almansa

                                                                                                Great list - most of my favorites and more! Tops for me are always their recommendations of something "goat, aged, and perfectly ripe" - frequently from small Italian producers - Langres and Brillat Savarin are always great standbys.

                                                                                              2. After reading through all of the great thoughts on this thread, one thing I would add would be to mention when you plan to actually eat the cheese that you are buying. If you are in Huron Village on a Wednesday and decide to shop for your Saturday night dinner, you will buy a different cheese then if you are racing home 5 minutes later to enjoy it with some crusty bread.
                                                                                                Personally, I couldn't say what my favorite is... my tastes vary by the day so I shop to suit my current desire not trying to recreate a past perfection.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Snowflake

                                                                                                  Yes, good point about timing. Cheese (mainly soft) is like a banana. The one you want to buy to eat today is not the one you want to buy to eat next week.

                                                                                                  1. re: Snowflake

                                                                                                    Excellent comment Snowflake. I'll add that for the same reason I buy very small pieces of cheese when I'm shopping for just the two of us. I buy small and often.

                                                                                                  2. They are selling a gorgeous Comte right now. Comte Les Granges. $14.95 / lb. Nutty, buttery, just delicious. It might be my favorite FK cheese (this week).

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: yumyum

                                                                                                      Folks, we've had to delete a bunch of responses here, many of them becoming increasingly heated, comparing the prices at various cheesemongers around and outside the Boston area. We'd ask that going forward, you keep the focus Boston-specific and civil.

                                                                                                    2. @Yumyum: Thanks for your recommendation for the Stichelton. Its exactly what I am looking for in a blue. After devouring half of the block on its own, I crumbled a little in a salad with apples and walnuts that brought out an awesome smokiness in it.

                                                                                                      I also picked up a half pound of that Comte les granges! I needed gruyere for a savory tart and the cheesemonger advised me that the gruyere was at a very ripe stage. She gave me a taste and whoa! it tasted like a totally different cheese. Fine for a cheese plate but a little to funky for my tart. Then she let me taste a few comte and les granges won. It was also a little more affordable than the gruyere.

                                                                                                      As always, the staff at the cheese counter was friendly, enthusiastic, and very patient with me as I tasted at least 10 different cheeses.

                                                                                                      1. Does anyone remember this sundried tomato marscapone that wine and cheese cask used to carry (as late as spring of 2010)? It was my favorite thing in the world!

                                                                                                        I went back a year or two ago (in NYC now) and they said they didn't have it anymore, as the creamery that made it had shut down... anyone remember what it was?