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Cheese stores from Bay area south to Big Sur, north to Menocino (but ex-San francisco)

We'll be back after, too many years away, for a few weeks in a few months. Where are the good cheese stores now? We'll be mainly along the coast & will have a car so can drive anywhere within a reasonable distance. Please note that we're flying into San Jose & plan to avoid the city of San Francisco. Thanks.

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  1. I can't help with stores per se, but be sure to stop at Harley Farms in Pescadero for goat cheese:


    If you're coming soon, there should be plenty of kids.

    The Bohemian recently ran an excellent article on North Bay cheeses:


    The link to the details on the cheesemakers in the story is broken; use this one:


      1. re: PolarBear

        Many thanks, PolarBear. I'd come across Harley Farms while poking around online but I'd missed the store in Carmel & that great online article.

        Hi Ho Curds, Awheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!

        1. re: FishTales

          While you're in Carmel, you can also check out Salumeria Luca which carries 30 kinds of Italian cheeses in addition to their salume.

          1. re: seamunky

            This one had slipped under the radar too... thanks.


      2. Cow Girl Creamery in Point Reyes is a great stop. Sure they carry their cheeses, but they also carry other local cheeses, as well as a really nice selection from other parts of the US as well as some from Europe. The service deli has a small but nice selection of prepared food, the wine selections are really good (and mostly local as well), and the produce section run by the nicest lady makes for a nice way to complete a picnic meal.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bulavinaka

          Ah, Cowgirl Creamery... their cheese is widely distributed & we've been enjoying it in many places for many many years. Thanks for mentioning it. If we hadn't known it would have been a shame to miss it.


          1. re: dafish

            We had planned to entirely avoid the cities around the Bay... we'd never heard of The Cheese Board... we looked at the website... ***We'll Be There***! Man'o'man does that place look good, & it's only a very few minutes off the freeway to get up to Pt Reyes Station, right en-route with our plans. Many thanks.


          2. http://www.starmkt.com/

            Star Market in Salinas has a small--10 ft of case?-- but nice cheese section. Respectable variety. Good local wines too. It would be near your route coming down from SF through Gilroy on Highway 101 , (if you don't turn toward the coast at Prunedale; Highway 156) take exit 326B in Salinas to Sanborne Rd west, and follow Blanco Rd to the corner at Main street, turn right and right again into the parking lot. Get back on Main street and head west out to Monterey on Highway 68. Also, check the regular dairy cold case on the rear wall for some interesting kefir cheese, quark, and local organic dairy products.

            Whole Foods in Monterey should also have a good selection of cheeses. The larger Mexican groceries have a good selection of soft fresh Mexican cheeses in their service deli cases. Mi Pueblo and La Pricessa are two chains locally. Great on toast or in sandwiches, tacos, etc.

            1 Reply
            1. re: toodie jane

              We'll be passing through Salinas en-route back to the airport so your Star Market suggestion is appreciated, thanks.

              As much as we dislike Whole Foods' prices we live in a vast zone of no cheese so have their website bookmarked & had already added the Monterey store to the itinerary. We like to stock up & bring cheese back home with us. This is shaping into a tasty trip.


            2. found this recently: http://www.malt.org/forms/cheese-map.php "cheese trails" map!

              also, a coastal blog you may want to bookmark for random food mentions: http://coastroad.me/

              I just consumed a tub, spoon by spoon, of Bellwether Farms Jersey Whey Ricotta. Silky, soft, sublime. No retail at the farm, but check out sources so as not to miss this and other of their cheeses.

              Sadie Kendall's Creme Fraiche is also 'not to be missed', and Sierra Cheese Co out of Colusa makes wonnnnnderful Cream Cheese. And there is a Buffalo Mozzarella maker up near Butte County (Chico area).

              5 Replies
              1. re: toodie jane

                We've found cheese maps for various other states, Wisconsin & Vermont come to mind. Thought I'd poked around online to see if there were any for California but I missed that one, thank you. Have bookmarked the blog for later.


                1. re: FishTales

                  it was a random discovery. I think it was a link on Bellwether Farms' site. (?) But most counties within California have a Farm Trails map produced by the local Agricultural Advisor's office ( under the Univ of Calif @ Davis' Farm and Home Advisors program). Just check the applicable county website for a link to a pdf map; most were produced back in the late 90's when the state had money to fund the program, so may not be up to date, but they are a start.

                2. re: toodie jane

                  The Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail Map arrived today-- thanks again! We'd already booked the Cowgirl Creamery tour at their Point Reyes Station shop, & will now see which other creameries will be on our route. You've helped make this trip a bit more special.


                    1. re: Stephanie Wong

                      Yes, they are on the map, thank you. I'd come across them while poking around online so they were already on our itinerary. There's no copyright or other date on the map so I'm not sure when it was published or how accurate the information is.

                      I'd like to thank you, too, for your detailed posts on this board. They saved me from asking a -lot- of questions because you'd already answered them.


                3. In Carmel I highly recommend The Cheese Shop. They know what they're doing and are very nice people!