We can guarantee that in the history of the universe, no host has ever regretted serving a cheese board. That’s because it’s among the easiest, most timeless of entertaining hacks and it pleases almost every crowd with minimal effort. Culinary trends may come and go, but good cheese never goes out of style. With just a few thoughtful selections, an attractive serving platter, and a smattering of condiments or fruit, you’re halfway to a party. The trick is in choosing an excellent cheesemonger and fortunately we’re rich in them in this area. The following are a few great local shops to patronize this season.
From Abbay de Belloc to white stilton studded with ginger and mango, this little fromagerie has been serving the Main Line since 1976 with dairy products from around the world, plus prepared foods, coffee and baked goods.
217 Haverford Ave., Narberth, (610) 667-3663
The marquee items at this Italian Market stalwart are, of course, the signature fresh cheeses, mozzarella, ricotta and burrata, each a good start to an Italian board. But don’t sleep on the excellent selection of aged cheeses, charcuterie, jams and crackers that can round them out.
924-26 South 9th St., (215) 627-1873
The market component of this bistro-store hybrid puts cheese and its brethren at the center. Homemade balsamic cherry compote, French butter and honeycomb all make perfect accoutrements for cheeses like locally made Hummingbird, the 60-day aged goat milk Domitilla and decadent triple creme Cremeux des Citeaux.
1 West Wayne Avenue, Wayne, (610) 688-1888
With locations in Rittenhouse Square, Italian Market, Center City, Washington Square West and Ardmore, this giant among cheese shops ensures that there’s always a wonderful selection of international cheeses close at hand, along with expert guidance (and free tastes) for building the board of your dreams. Our city is all the richer for it.
This deceptively small-seeming stall in Reading Terminal Market packs an impressive array of domestic and European delights. Samples are provided here, but given the crowds and bustle of RTM during the holidays this is a good place to visit when you know the cheese you seek.
45 N. 12th St., Reading Terminal Market, (215) 351-7412
If anything can fill the void of the recently shuttered iconic Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop, it’s a fromagerie from one of its former partners. Situated at the top of the hill, Evergreen occupies a smaller footprint and a tightly curated selection of local, domestic and international products. 184 E Evergreen Ave., (215) 248-1957