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Get Your Gouda and Gruyere at Westchester’s Top Cheese Shops

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Calling all cheese lovers! Whether you’re celebrating National Cheese Day or putting together the perfect cheeseboard, here’s where to shop.

By Liz Susman Karp, with additional reporting by Lindsey Smith

Enhancing the area’s dining scene are a number of specialty shops that offer a wide variety of cheeses from all over, along with knowledgeable service and a passion for the product.

Each store has its own personality and philosophy, but all are distinguished by a personal touch, with cheesemongers who aim to engage and educate the customer — an experience distinctly unlike purchasing plastic-wrapped cheese from a supermarket.

Dante’s Italian Deli

429 Central Ave, White Plains; 914.946.3609

Be careful not to bump into the three-feet logs of Auricchio provolone, carefully marked with age, arrival date, and anticipated cutting dates, that hang from the ceiling as you walk through this old-style Italian deli, open for more than 60 years. With 60 or so options in the case at any one time, cheese is the heart of the shop, says owner Anthony Perrotta.

Seventy-five percent of the selection is Italian, with the remainder hailing from France, Ireland and local farms; the tender, milky mozzarella is made in-house. Buffalo-milk Gouda and pecorino aged in wine earn raves from customers. Perrotta also uses many of the cheeses for the shop’s 33 varieties of homemade pasta, including 17 flavors of ravioli, and other Italian specialties, such as fresh sandwiches, stuffed peppers, and catering and cheese platters.

The Order: Hard pressed to pick one, Perrotta goes with the Holy Cow, one of the newest cheeses that has quickly become extremely popular.

 

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Dobbs & Bishop Fine Cheese

107 Pondfield Rd, Bronxville; 914.361.1770

This October marks the 13th anniversary for Dobbs & Bishop. Spouses, owners, and self-proclaimed foodies Kevin McNeill and Ruth Walter, sorely disappointed by the tasteless cheese offerings at their local grocery store, decided to open a cheese shop shortly after settling in Bronxville.

A blackboard on the wall lists the more than 100 cheeses usually available, organized by type, including a “stinky” category. “As best as we can, we go for whole-milk cheeses and small producers, like Cato Corner, a farmstead cheese farm in Connecticut, to be a little bit different,” explains McNeill. Alongside American cheeses, expect imports from Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Holland, and the UK.

Daily sandwiches; gourmet products, including olives, nuts, crackers, and jams; and “orphan cheeses,” which offer customers the opportunity to try small, inexpensive amounts of popular cheeses, are available. Subscriptions to cheese of the month clubs, gift baskets, and cheese platters are popular at holiday time. Cheese towers decorated with flowers are a store specialty.

The Order: Delices de Bourgogne, a triple crème Brie from France. “People go completely bananas over it. It’s like ice cream for grownups,” says McNeill.

Mint Premium Foods

19 Main St, Tarrytown; 914.703.6511

Twenty-three years ago, a self-described mid-life crisis prompted Hassan Jarane, then a professional photographer, to share his passion for food by opening Mint Premium Foods. Today, Jarane and his wife, Alberta, stake claim to owning the county’s oldest cheese shop, and have seen customers’ palates evolve over the years, from asking for Havarti to requesting more varied and sophisticated cheeses.

Also a charming restaurant with eclectic décor to match its varied, globally influenced menu, the front counter showcases 40-50 cheeses and a dozen varieties of charcuterie. Barrels of plump olives, baguettes, and all manner of imported mustards, oils, vinegars, dried figs, quince paste, and pasta are displayed as one enters. “We take pride in having a balanced selection,” Jarane says of his cheeses, 99% of which are imported from France, Holland, Spain, Germany, and Italy.

The Order: Though customers frequently request truffle cheeses, Jarane goes through up to 20 wheels of English cheddar with caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar each week. “Even people who don’t eat cheese come for this,” he says.

Related: The Couple Behind Mint Premium Foods Builds a Vibrant Legacy

Second Mouse Cheese

357 Manville Rd, Pleasantville; 914.579.2909

Ivy Ronquillo opened her dream cheese shop in April 2019, named after an old business adage: The first mouse gets the trap, and the second mouse gets the cheese. An experienced cheesemonger, Ronquillo learned as Terrance Brennan’s right hand at Artisanal and while working at Murray’s Cheese and Greenwich Cheese Company. Of the varieties in her case, expect half to be raw-milk cheeses because they tend to be more flavorful and are more traditional.

And though Ronquillo doesn’t discount that European producers set the standard for cheese making, she stocks 60% domestic cheese, all produced in small batches, with an emphasis on local and American creameries that Ronquillo goes out of her way to support. A tavern license allows Second Mouse to offer sangria, local wine, cider, and beer to pair with a cheese plate or grilled cheese. Shelves are filled with artisan crackers, condiments, and more, and the store stays open until 8 p.m. some nights to cater to the Jacob Burns crowd or for private parties (think book clubs or moms’ night out).

A Cheese 101 class is held monthly, along with wine and cheese tastings.

The Order: Reypennaer XO Reserve, a three-year-aged Gouda with “crystalline texture, beautiful deep peach color, and a butterscotch quality so it serves as the perfect dessert course or as an I-don’t-feel-like-making-dinner cheese. We can’t keep it in stock,” says Ronquillo.

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