In the food-obsessed metropolis of New York City, cheese is revered and often sought after so much that travelers plan trips around popping into places just to taste a fromage fave. There are countless shops that make fresh mozzarella daily, stores with cheese caves for aging, and small bars that specialize in cheese from a particular region or country. For fromage lovers, the possibilities are endless, whether you want to taste, learn, buy, or even make, cheese. Here are five of the best places in the Big Apple to satisfy your creamy craving.
Perhaps the most famous spot for cheese in the city is the iconic Murray’s on Bleecker Street. The cheese counter is full of rare treats and cheesemongers here are happy to let you taste before you buy. Learn about cheese by signing up for an educational course — Cheese 101, Mozzarella Making, The Harmony of Beer and Cheese — or grab a table next door at Murray’s Cheese Bar for tasty bites such as fried cheese curds, smoky tomato bisque, mac and cheese or a variety of cheese flights.
The original Bedford Cheese Shop is on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Cheese fanatics can choose between visiting this shop or the Manhattan outpost, on charming Irving Place in the Gramercy neighborhood. This old-fashioned cheese shop boasts an impressive counter including seasonal varieties such as Manchego Oveja Negra and Ardi Gasna, a long list of classes (American Whiskey and Cheese, Festival of Fondue), and tasty snack boxes to go.
After browsing a couple expansive cheese shops, you might be ready to sit down and eat. This cheese and wine bar offers an incredibly wide range of options, from fondue to cheese and wine flights (a tasting of three seasonal cheeses along with paired wines) to personalized cheese tastings. There’s also a full menu in this Parisan-bistro style spot, offering dishes such as pumpkin gnocchi, steak frites or horseradish-crusted salmon.
To taste something completely new, visit the Union Square Greenmarket. In between all of the vegetables, fruits, and herbs, there are fresh cheeses straight from the farms in which they are made. Connect with Ardith Mae Farm in Pennsylvania and try its fresh and aged goat cheeses, or sample cows-milk cheeses from Cato Corner Farm in Connecticut. Of course, you can pick up the proper accouterments for your cheese spread, too, such as honey and preserves from Berkshire Berries and wine from Castello di Borghese.
This half-shop, half-tapas café showcases the cheeses and other fine products of Spain. Stop in here to browse and nibble your way through some of the best the country has to offer, such as Torta de la Serena (sheep’s milk), Queso Nata de Cantabria (cow’s milk) or Cuevas del Mar (goat’s milk). With concentrated offerings and a small café space featuring tapas, bocadillos (sandwiches) and pintxos (small snacks), customers will have the opportunity to learn and ask questions about the carefully selected products from the knowledgeable staff.
Photos Courtesy of iStock-nicola margaret