I’m cheese shopping in travels tri state and occasionally online but monmouth county is home and has noteworthy cheese shops and some reliable cheesemonger/buyers bringing even harder to score cheeses to shoppers like us. Where do you buy your favorites in your town and what cheeses do you recommend from these shops?
My consistent Monmouth cheese specific runs include, in no particular order:
Sickles Market Little Silver has crammed more cheese into a small space and turned me onto the goat cheese category. Drunken goat being a fun fav.
Friday night for $5 at The Cheese Cave is not only fun but a easy way to check out cheese types. I learned about ash in cheese there.
ShopRite cheese dept manager helped me create a complimentary cheese plate when I didnt know where to begin. The rabbit hole of Soft rined and blooming cheese specifically.
Trader Joes, the main reason I go is the dairy case, especially cheese. Easy low cost way to try a small pc for the first time. Clever flavor mashups.
And finally, Whole Foods for when I want a very large half/wheel locally bought for long term use like Parms.
What say you NJ cheese lovers?
(Nods to fellow HOs who suggested starting a thread)
I’m big on TJ’s locally. They seem to strike a very good balance of price/selection/quality. Only cheese I really avoid there is Parmigiano Reggiano as it’s a bit bland. I usually head to the rock and buy a good chunk at the Pastosa on Forest Ave in Staten Island that I mentioned in other thread as they have the real stuff. (Caveat- worked there in college so take that into account- but they have great selection as well). Lots of places around here have just bland parm.
Costco is also a good spot when I’m throwing a party or for the holidays and I’m going heavy on a select few cheeses.
Drunken Goat is a fav, Manchego prob our number 1 these days next to good hunk of Reggiano. Wishing I could find a place locally that has good greek feta in brine, not wrapped and portioned, but where you get a good chunk cut from the block in brine. French or Bulgarian Feta is a decent enough sub but tend to be milder.
IF you like ash cheese try Sottocenere, it’s an aged Italian cheese with truffles packed in ash; really a good one, not cheap but was always a crowd pleaser when I would suggest it. Always a sucker for a really good sharp aged provolone, usually Auricchio brand and on the holidays a scamorza too.
I wasn’t a fan but many people loved taleggio- a super stink Italian cheese- smells like wet feet to me, but some people love those stink cheeses…
Try a mild young taleggio, it may change your mind
@Metsfan86 I’m pretty sure The Greek Spot sells feta in brine…
Would love to hear more about the Cheese Cave’s Friday event…wasn’t aware of it!
Feta sold at Sahara 34 in Matawan at the butcher counter or pkg imports in frig area has a nice selection.
The Greek Spot restaurant in Ocean also sells fresh feta in no salt, salted and super salt by the lb.
Totally blanked on Costco. You’re right worth checking them out.
If you can get there btwn 5-8 pm, the owner does a nice job of showcasing cheese offerings and other food stuffs he sells. Very casual.
That’s great! Thx much. I saw him speak at the Storytellers event at the Asbury a couple of weeks ago and liked his attitude about hospitality. Will have to get over there!
My pleasure. First time I was aware of the shop was a wine event at The Wine Cellar where he set up a cheese tasting compliment to the wines offered. Seemed like a casual but very knowledgeable biz guy.
I got some very nice cheeses at Whole Foods in Montclair, for a dinner party we hosted last week. They were very helpful and gave us some great recommendations. We got a Humboldt Fog chevre with vegetable ash that I highly recommend. We first tried it at Cafe Panache with jamon ham, and tried to replicate it at home by wrapping it inside of various hams with toasted slivered almonds to give it a nice crunch. We also got drunken goat cheese that was soaked for over 60 days in mourvedre wine that was very good, as well as balsamic Bellavatino Sartori (soaked in balsamic). Below is a bad picture and I have some pictures in the what’s cooking section from the dinner party.
Nice! Writing down notes…
The cheese/nuts/ham combo sounds really good.
My go-to shops for cheese in Mercer County are Bon Appetit in Princeton and Brick Farm Market in Hopewell. Both have a very good selection of cheeses and you’ll receive them wrapped in paper, not plastic. The cheese monger at Brick Farm is VERY knowledgeable.
Farther north in Morris County, the Wine Library in Springfield has a surprisingly large selection of cheeses but I find the staff are much less knowledgeable than in the two stores mentioned above. I don’t usually shop for cheese at the Wine Library unless I’m there for the terrific wine selection.
yet another reason I need to get my a$$ there. I am afraid when they open up in RB I’m going to live there…
Any Friday that you like I will meet you at the Cheese Cave at 5. It’s byo and everybody brings wine.
TJ’s used to sell a really nice Danish feta in brine already cubed for like 2.99. I would buy tons of it and eat alone or in a pasta salad, tomato salad, etc…sadly they one day stopped carrying it much to my dismay. The Greek version they have is pretty good but way overpriced for size.
If you see any - Bulgarian Fetas can be very good. RD stocks one which I often buy. We’re not a big cheese household. I am exceptionally fond of Stilton which I usually buy around the holidays - usually at Wegman’s actually. And yes - I do have a Stilton scoop. We also like Romano around here but we buy that in bulk because we sell it also.
This reminds me that Gary’s Wine/Market in Madison and Wayne (those are the locations I know) also has a great cheese department!
Yes, you’re right. Haven’t been there for years but there’s also a branch in Bernardsville. Osteria Marini, one of Michael White’s restaurants, is across the road from Gary’s.
Has anyone had that merlot cheese from costco? I had some a few times this summer/ fall and it is some nice cheese.
Have not but will add to the list. If you like wine cheesss try a nice ubriaco one of these days. Really good aged Italian cheese with wine in it