I absolutely love cheese, and I am especially fond of the experience of venturing into tangy-smelling cheese shops where the cheese is cut to order, and samples are plentiful. So to celebrate National Cheese Day, I decided to pick five outstanding cheese shops on Long Island where you can purchase cheese from around the world.
1. The Village Cheese Shop, Love Lane, Mattituck: I frequent here when I’m on the North Fork and planning a picnic at one of the wineries. They offer more than 150 cheeses and accompaniments from around the world, as well as fondues and cheese pairings that are served in a quaint attached greenhouse. Rosemary Batcheller started the business in 2001. Franco-American Michael Affatato, a wine connoisseur and gourmet aficionado, took over the business in June 2015. He is looking forward to bringing his international food experiences to the shop. And be sure to pick up a loaf of Tom Cat Bakery’s French baguette, but get there early, because they sell out fast.
2. C’est Cheese, Port Jefferson: This artisanal cheese shop, whose name is a play on “that’s life” and “say cheese,” is on Main Street and features boutique wines, craft beers, gourmet sandwiches and salads, and close to 100 different types of cheese. They offer cheese tastings and pairings, a dozen kinds of fabulous grilled cheese sandwiches, including brie with apples and honey. Live music is played every Friday and Saturday night from 7 – 10 p.m., and on Wednesdays, all bottles of wine are $10 off.
3. Curds and Whey, Birch Hill Road, Locust Valley: Curds and Whey opened in the summer of 2012 and specializes in local cheeses and gourmet products made on Long Island. Cheese is brought in from Mecox Bay Dairy in Bridgehampton and Catapano Dairy Farm in Peconic. Miss Amy’s Preserves, bread from Blue Duck Bakery, artisan salts, chocolates and more are staples in this quaint shop, as is raw wildflower honey, harvested right in Locust Valley.
4. Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Shop, Division Street, Sag Harbor: A favorite stop for Barefoot Contessa’s Ina Garten, Cavaniola’s was founded in 2004, and features a world class selection of imported and domestic cheeses, charcuterie and fine specialty gourmet products. Cheese plates and gift baskets are popular items seen at many Hamptons events, and a chef is on hand to discuss your catering and wine needs. No trip to Sag Harbor would be complete without making at stop at Cavaniola’s.
5. The Cheese Patch, East Main Street, Patchogue: This shop offers local and imported cheeses. They are known for their wine, beer and cheese pairings, as well as custom cheese baskets, platters and on-site catering. The store hosts monthly events, some of which include learning about different types of cheese, how cheese is made, and what pairs best with wine or beer. Local winemakers are on hand for many of these events. Cheese related items such as cutting boards, wire cheese slicers, wine bottle holders and more, can be bought, as well as a monthly cheese membership for the true cheese lover.
So get yourself some fabulous cheese, a crusty baguette, and celebrate National Cheese Day by supporting your local cheesemonger.