The Best Cheese Shops Around Wine Country

  • Food
  • by BLOGGER
  • on OCTOBER 3, 2016
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There’s no shortage of opportunities to buy wine while exploring the nation’s best vineyards, but what about the beverage’s best friend, cheese? These cheese shops around the nation provide an impressive selection of delicious, often unusual dairy products within close proximity to popular wine tasting regions.

French Cheese in California

Fromagerie-Sophie
Image Source: Yelp

Fromagerie Sophie
1129 Garden St
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 503-0805
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 14 reviews

Born of an effort to bring a little Parisian atmosphere to the central California coast, Fromagerie Sophie boasts a wide selection of international cheeses in an intimate setting, with new arrivals and weekly picks always offering new reasons to stop in for a visit. Varieties of cured meats and crackers are also on hand to help create the perfect cheese plate. The staff are well-versed on wine pairings as well, and can often recommend a suitable cheese based on the local wineries you plan on visiting.

Insider tip: Don’t be shy about trying the cheese, as the staff will let you sample almost anything that isn’t wrapped for individual sale.

Monterey in Sonoma

Vella-Cheese-Co.
Image Source: Yelp

Vella Cheese Co.
315 2nd St E
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 938-3232
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 204 reviews

Another one of many artisan shops scattered around Sonoma’s vibrant main square, Vella Cheese Co. emphasizes local sustainable production, using free-range cows from the local farm Mertens Dairy and a minimal amount of added salt. All their prizewinning cheeses are finished in Vella’s historic stone building, and most are delectable versions of familiar varieties like cheddar or Monterey jack (but infused with striking flavors like rosemary and habanero).

Insider tip: The products are all vacuum-sealed for sale and will last long enough to survive a flight or drive, so those visiting from out of state can still take their favorite cheeses home with them.

Sandwich Selection

Venissimo-Cheese
Image Source: Yelp

Venissimo Cheese
2650 Via De La Valle
Del Mar, CA 92014
(858) 847-9616
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 48 reviews

A rare local chain focused solely on cheese, Venissimo lets customers create their own charcuterie boards after sampling their local and imported cheeses, as well as cured pork sliced fresh in the Spanish tradition. Their other delicious dairy-centric offerings include hot grilled cheeses and cheese cakes—not cheesecake, mind you, but gorgeous tiered arrangements of brie and other cheeses prepared for special occasions. Don’t miss their rare but generous happy hours on the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 6 p.m.

Insider tip: If you plan on visiting more than once, the shop can create a profile for you to help keep track of which cheeses you’ve already tried, so you know which to get in the future.

Goat Cheese Galore

Briar-Rose-Creamery
Image Source: Yelp

Briar Rose Creamery
19231 NE Fairview Dr
Dundee, OR 97115
(503) 538-4848
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 2 reviews

This remote cheese shop past where the pavement ends in the hills of Oregon specializes in both fresh and aged varieties of goat cheese, each one tangier and more tempting than the last. Stop by during their open hours on Friday or Saturday, and you’ll likely catch a glimpse of the cheese being made fresh in the back room while you enjoy a tasting of their seasonal offerings.

Insider tip: If you want something sweeter than their chevre, try the truffles, which are made from the same goat cheese, but are covered in decadent chocolate.

Meat and Cheese

Owens-Meats
Image Source: Yelp

Owens Meats
502 E 1st St
Cle Elum, WA 98922
(509) 674-2530

One of Washington State’s longest-running family businesses, Owens Meats has been luring in hungry customers with the tantalizing smell of fresh and smoked meats for more than 125 years. They apply their smoking technique to their delicious flagship cheddar as well. Opposite their house-prepared meats, you’ll find shelves of flavorful hot sauces, jams, salsa, pickled goods, and craft beers—all wonderful complements to the main event.

Insider tip: If you’re looking to combine the shop’s two tasty specialties, purchase the thicker cheese-stuffed pepperonis.

Cheese, Grilled and Otherwise

Gourmage
Image Source: Yelp

Gourmage
270 W San Antonio St
New Braunfels, TX 78130
Phone number (830) 214-6471
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 37 reviews

The only cheese shop in South Texas is far better than it needs to be, given the lack of competition. The cheeses offered are diverse imports from all over the U.S. and Europe, and can be purchased on their own, or ordered as part of a light lunch made from scratch, whether that means a Manchego grilled cheese, watermelon-feta salad, or black truffle mac-and-cheese. Their impressive roster of accompaniments includes fresh fruit, breads, specialty beer and wine, and handmade chocolates.

Insider tip: The shop has more than just food, as the walls are lined with wines for pairing and cheese accessories like fondue sticks and glassware all available for purchase.

Spices, Spreads, and More

The-Cheese-Shop
Image Source: Yelp

The Cheese Shop
2366 Tinkling Spring Rd
Stuarts Draft, VA 24401
(540) 337-4224

The Cheese Shop is far more than its title might suggest: rather, it’s a grocery store that emphasizes unique dairy products, as well as other bulk items like spreads, spices, and cold cuts that aren’t available elsewhere—at least not for such reasonable prices. The endlessly helpful staff members help to make the Cheese Shop one of the best place to buy the delicious local products produced throughout the rural Appalachian communities nearby.

Insider tip: Be on the lookout for old-fashioned snacks and soft drinks you can’t find elsewhere these days, as well as handmade cheeses from Pennsylvania Dutch communities.

If anything can make a great bottle of wine better, it’s a delicious block of cheese. The next time you’re exploring a new region by its vineyard varietals, don’t miss the added culinary pleasures available in spades at these world-class cheese shops.