Foster & Dobbs Authentic Foods, Portland, OR At this northeast Portland cheese-and-wine shop, co-owners Luan Schooler and her husband, Tim Wilson, won’t let anyone escape without tasting at least one of their cheeses, whether it’s a new mountain-style Gruyère from Rockhill Creamery in Richmond, Utah, or a delectable goat’s-milk cheese from Juniper Grove Farm in Redmond, Oregon. Schooler loves to tell the stories behind the cheeses, too, and offers Cheese 101 and wine-pairing classes. The store’s café serves a cheese plate and also sells local jam, honey and cider. 2518 NE 15th Ave.; 503-284-1157.
Marion Street Cheese Market, Oak Park, IL Names like Prairie Fruits Farm, Hidden Springs Creamery and Shepherd’s Way Farms sound like they belong in a Laura Ingalls Wilder novel. Instead, they’re on labels at the cheese counter at this American cheese–centric store in a Chicago suburb. Owner Eric Larson is constantly scouting for new cheeses and even takes his staff to dairy farms. Next year, he’ll expand to a new location down the street so he can put in a cheese-and-wine café. 101 N. Marion St.; 708-848-2088.
Premier Cheese Market, Minneapolis Co-owner Ken Liss, a 25-year Navy veteran, undertook a three-month unpaid internship at New York’s Artisanal Premium Cheese Center to pursue his true calling. Last August he and his wife, Amy, opened this shop, which features cheeses from all over the world, including American discoveries like the new Carlton Cream from Minnesota’s Green Pastures Dairy and Hook’s cheddars from Wisconsin’s Hook’s Cheese Company. Liss’s store also offers house-made baked goods, charcuterie, olives and even a bulk-salt bar. 5013 France Ave. S.; 612-436-5590.
Saxelby Cheesemongers, New York City As an alumna of Manhattan’s famed Murray’s Cheese shop, and as someone who has spent time elbow-deep in cheesemaking vats, Anne Saxelby is eminently qualified to run her American-only cheese shop. Many of the cheeses she sells from her small stand in the revamped Essex Street Market on New York’s Lower East Side come from dairy farms where she once worked. Although Saxelby makes an exception for Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano, everything else she stocks highlights up-and-coming cheeses from more than 30 American farmstead dairies, such as Mecox Bay Dairy in Bridgehampton, Long Island; Pennsylvania’s Birchrun Hills Farm; and Connecticut’s Beltane Farm. 120 Essex St.; 212-228-8204.
St. James Cheese Company, New Orleans Owner Richard Sutton’s stint as the manager of London’s heralded Paxton & Whitfield cheese store influenced his European-cheese picks, but the Tulane grad’s new store also carries some delicious cheeses from the southern United States, including the dreamy triple-cream goat’s- and cow’s-milk cheeses from Louisiana’s Bittersweet Plantation Dairy. The shop, in New Orleans’s Uptown neighborhood, doubles as a café with outdoor seating; the cheese-focused menu devised by Richard’s wife and St. James co-owner, Danielle, changes regularly but recently featured Grafton cheddar sandwiches and salads with Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company’s Original Blue. 5004 Prytania St.; 504-899-4737.
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