This is one of history’s favorite cheeses and one of our favorites as well. Fontina Val D'Aosta has earthy notes, a touch of mushroom, a little fruit and a light milky undertone. It also is a flavorful cooking cheese, being the champion melter that it is, and a full bodied red wine’s best friend. Live like the Italians! Top your steak with it, go for some fonduta over polenta or shred into your pasta for the golden dinner party. Mangiare dal vivo amore as they say. Live, eat and love.
This cheese really is a piece of history handed down through the generations to your table, kitchen and palate.
The first records date from the 1200’s, and is mentioned time and time again throughout historical record. The Valle D’Aosta, is bordered by France, Switzerland and the Piedmont region, is notorious for its luscious grazing land and amazing cheese. There are 400 producers making 400,000 wheels a year certified by the Consorzio and stamped with the Matterhorn. They must be raw milk from a single milking, and a slice of the final product must be able to be bent in half without breaking to receive the prestigious Matterhorn stamp.
Perhaps the king of stinky French cheese, at least according to some die-hard fans. Whether you’re new to washed-rind cheeses or a long-time addict, Epoisse has got it all. Rich, thick, creamy cheese with a straw-colored interior and sticky, rusty orange rind.
Each wheel is washed with Marc de Bourgogne, the local brandy, during affinage to achieve these peaks of flavor and aroma. The flavors of Epoisses range from butter to ripe fruit, cured meats and salty olives, with a dense texture that sticks to your palate. Young wheels have a bright tang to balance the earthy nose, while more aged ones take on the bittersweet flavors of dark chocolate. Perfect with a ripe pear, a crusty baguette and a glass of red Burgundy.
Anyone well versed in the history of California cheesemaking should knows the name Ig Vella. What began as a family business started by Tom Vella in 1931 is now one of the most esteemed sustainable dairy businesses in the state, and the producer of some very fine cheese.
This special select Dry Jack is extra aged for a dense, crystalline texture with a flaky and crunchy bite. Each wheel is rubbed with a mixture of oil, black pepper and cocoa powder to protect the cheese within without imparting any strong flavors. Dry Jack is rich and nutty like a good Parmigiano Reggiano, but tastes more smooth and buttery.
In our shop we love to recommend this cheese to hikers, campers or travelers, as it holds up quite well without refrigeration. But don’t wait for a picnic to try it; this is a great choice for a cheese platter or as a milder substitute for any grating cheese. Pairs astonishingly well with just about everything.
A California original cheese that you’ll be hard-pressed to dislike. Although the recipe is based on a young Jack cheese, Teleme more closely resembles the soft, tender cow and sheep milk cheeses eaten all across Italy.
Each square wheel is dusted with rice flour to protect the thin rind and keep the soft cheese from sticking to its wrapper. The texture of teleme is dense & fudgey, soft & pliant. Younger wheels are springier, while riper ones become beautifully oozy and creamy. Teleme is a mild cheese that starts out tangy & lactic when young and takes on a more pronounced buttery flavor as it ages. Fantastic for breakfast drizzled with a little olive oil or honey and a pinch of fleur de sel.
As pervasive in Italy as Brie is in France, Taleggio is a soft-ripening cow’s milk cheese with sweet, fruity flavors and a strong, pungent nose. Like most washed-rind cheeses, Taleggio’s bark is bigger than its bite, and those who may be turned off by the strong smell are usually won over by the smooth & subtle buttery flavors.
The flavors are rich and meaty with a salty finish, like a dairy version of prosciutto. Pairs fantastically with toasted nuts & olives, dried fruit, & a spicy Italian red wine. Spice up a hot pastrami sandwich with some melted Taleggio, or add some to your favorite mac ‘n’ cheese recipe for a stinky delight.
England’s most famous blue cheese. Although Stilton hasn’t reached quite as many corners of the earth as the infamous Cheddar, it is one of Britain’s greatest cheesemaking traditions.
We are proud to offer what we find to be the best Stilton available, made by Colston Bassett & District Dairy and cared for by the London aging house Neal’s Yard Dairy. To bear the name Stilton, the cheese must be made under strict guidelines from pasteurized milk, although there are raw milk variants like the organic “Stichelton”. Colston Bassett Stilton is pierced later than many other Stiltons, allowing the cheese to mature and develop deeper flavors before the development of blue veins. This makes for a more complex overall cheese, with notes of fresh butter, ripe fruit, and a mossy forest. The texture is dense, creamy and easily crumbled. Outstanding with walnuts & Port, a British Christmas tradition that we can enjoy year-round!
If there were a blue-cheese flavored butter, this might be it. St. Agur is perfect for when you can’t make up your mind between a soft, buttery triple-crème or something with a stronger, spicier kick.
Whole cow’s milk is enriched with a little extra cream – and how could that hurt? The sweet, buttery flavor make this a great “starter blue” for those who might be initially wary of blue cheese. St. Agur’s spreadability makes it an easy party cheese, pairing well with cured meats, dried fruits, Port or a sweet white wine.
An original recipe, made by cheesemaker Mariano Gonzales. Fiscalini Farms has been a family dairy since 1914, and began making cheese in late 2000.
San Joaquin Gold is named for the rolling San Joaquin valley that the dairy calls home. The recipe is inspired by the aged Swiss mountain cheeses that reminded the Fiscalini’s of their Swiss heritage. Made from raw cow’s milk from the family’s own herd, the cheese is aged for 12-16 months until firm and dense. San Joaquin Gold is bright like a cheddar, but with hints of sweetness reminiscent of Gouda or Gruyere. The texture is open and pliant, showing off the curd structure of the cheese. Delightful to cook with, but we think it shines more as an eating cheese, best enjoyed with your favorite beverage and a fruit or charcuterie plate. Pairs with everything, from rich red wines, full-bodied brown ales, or a California Chardonnay.
Piave comes to us form the Piave River Valley of Belluno, Italy, north of the Emilia-Romagna region that’s so famous for their Parmigiano Reggiano. Piave is similar in many ways to its famous cousin, but made in a smaller format that allows for easier handling and more rapid aging.
Our Piave is sold at a minimum of 12 months, at which point the cheese has a firm, dense texture with a slight crunch. The flavors are predominantly sweet and nutty, similar to a young Parmigiano Reggiano. Piave is a great alternative to Reggiano if you’re looking for a similar flavor and texture but with a little less bite. This cheese is a little promiscuous when it comes to wine, pairing beautifully with reds across the board and even many white wines, making it a great choice for a wine tasting that includes many different varietals. Piave can also be used wherever you might use Reggiano in the kitchen – grated over salads, pasta, or stuffed into a chicken breast.
An unmistakable cannonball of cheese in a cantaloupe-shaped disguise! A French take on Dutch aged gouda or edam, Mimolette is made with the addition of Annatto (a natural vegetable dye) for a deep orange color.
These wheels have a crusty, dry, natural rind that resembles the skin of a cantaloupe. Inside, the paste is dense and firm with a tendency to flake apart into bite-size golden nuggets. The flavors are milder and less sweet than a gouda, but just as rich and savory. A beautiful addition to a cheese plate for its striking color and ability to pair with almost any beverage.
Mimolette is also the subject of one of our favorite urban cheese legends: in one version, Napoleon allegedly ran out of cannonballs and resorted to shooting rock-hard balls of Mimolette at his opponents. True or not, it’s good to know you can count on this cheese in a pinch.
Inspired by Welsh Caerphilly and made in New Hampshire by Landaff Creamery. Landaff is made with raw cow’s milk by the Erb family, second generation dairy farmers.
At about one week old, the cheese is sent to the Cellars at Jasper Hill Farms in Vermont, where they take over cave-aging for the next two months. Landaff is ready to eat at about 2 months, at which point it’s developed a thin, natural rind. The cheese inside is buttery, grassy and yogurty in flavor with an open, semi-firm texture. A brilliant eating cheese, with subtle complexities that open up as the cheese warms on the tongue. Delicious paired with a pale ale, crumbled into a salad or in a cheese & apricot chutney panini.
A well-balanced blue from southern France, one of the country’s oldest cheese traditions. Our wheels are selected and aged by master affineur Hervé Mons, who helps the cheese develop its signature creaminess and even, slightly sweet flavor.
Like so many French blue cheeses, Fourme d’Ambert is buttery and soft on the tongue, with a pleasant earthy flavor that pairs beautifully with apples or pears. The balance of sweet to earthy flavors make this a great blue cheese to bake with. Delicious as a dessert course with a sweet white wine – try a Vouvray or an aged Tokaji.