Behind the Scenes

Los Angeles Cheese Shop Top Sellers, Hidden Gems + Dreams

By | December 5, 2012 0 comments
Los Angeles Cheese Shop Top Sellers, Hidden Gems + Dreams Chris Pollan presides over The Cheese Store of Silverlake.


Six of L.A.’s leading cheese arbiters weighed in with their top selling cheese, favorite under-the-radar cheese, and dream grilled cheese sandwich.

Andrew’s Cheese Shop (Andrew Steiner)

What’s your top selling cheese, and why do you think that’s the case?

It’s a tough choice but probably Brillat-Savarin, the great triple-crème from Normandy. It’s popular because it’s full of fat and tastes like butter. What’s not to like? I do not every brand of this cheese but I carry a really nice one.

What’s one cheese that customers may not know about that you’d recommend, and what do you like about it?

One of my favorites is Bleu de Termignon. Most customers don’t really care for it. It’s a surface molded bleu so the mold is invisible and I think most people don’t get it. It has this beautiful, spongy texture, great citrus flavors combined with the grass and power of the Alps where it was made.

What does your dream grilled cheese sandwich consist of?

Loaded question as we are very well-known for these sandwiches. Our most popular is Burrate, sheep’s milk ricotta, prosciutto, basil-truffle butter, fresh basil, beefsteak tomato, truffle salt on olive bread. A recipe that I would like to try that would be expensive would be Hook’s 12 year old Cheddar, Iberico ham, and shaved white truffles.

The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills (Norbert Wabnig)

What’s your top selling cheese, and why do you think that’s the case?

Parmigiano Reggiano, because it’s the all purpose cheese. Good for eating, good for grating. Used in cooking, on the table. And even the left over rinds can be put into soups and stews for added flavor. No waste! It is truly the king of cheeses, completely consistently reliable and so incredibly good from Reggio, Italy.

What’s one cheese that customers may not know about that you’d recommend, and what do you like about it?

Bethmale…by Jean Faup. Pure goat, from the Basque region of France. But unlike most goat cheeses that are softer in texture, it can be cut with a knife. It’s not salty flavored, great tangy flavor. Great snacker.

What does your dream grilled cheese sandwich consist of?

Mine? You know what, Hook’s 15 year old cheddar on our customer and Master Baker, Colleen Perlis’s Boule, cut thin and grilled dark with french sweet butter. The best!

The Cheese Store of Pasadena (Natalia Pastis)

What’s your top selling cheese, and why do you think that’s the case?

Five year Gouda, because it’s nutty and goes with a lot of different wines. It’s a really hearty cheese, lots of flavor.

What’s one cheese that customers may not know about that you’d recommend, and what do you like about it?

That would be Ewephoria, it’s the one cheese that nobody dislikes when we recommend it. It’s made out of sheep’s milk, a gouda, kind of sweet and has a nutty finish to it. Children like it and adults like it.

What does your dream grilled cheese sandwich consist of?

I would say, goat cheese, olive oil and salami. I like Bucheron, a French goat cheese, and salami wise, spicy salami would be fabulous, a spicy Calabrese.

The Cheese Store of Silverlake (Chris Pollan)

What’s your top selling cheese, and why do you think that’s the case?

My top selling cheese would be a Gouda style goat’s milk cheese from Northern California, started in Holland and finished in Northern California. It has great flavors. It looks terrific. It’s a very food friendly, wine friendly cheese and it hits a lot of the important bases for me, in this store, anyway.

What’s one cheese that customers may not know about that you’d recommend, and what do you like about it?

There are a couple of them. One of them is a Swiss cheese called Andeerer Traum. It’s a cow’s milk. That’s an exciting cheese to me. That’s pretty much off the radar. People wouldn’t really be familiar with that. It’s kind of an under the radar Swiss cheese. It’s kind of won a lot of awards. That would be something I’d recommend.

I try to feature a lot of American cheeses, as much American cheese as I can…We feature some good things from Jasper Hill in Vermont. Those two things would be good.

What does your dream grilled cheese sandwich consist of?

That’s a tough one for me. It would have to be something with blue cheese, because I’m crazy about blue cheese, and it melts so quickly. I would say Istara, which is a French sheep’s milk cheese from the Pyranees, Gruyere, and maybe a black label Papillon Roquefort would be good.

Any sort of specific butter or bread?

Any of the French salted butters would be fine with me, and I would like either a raisin pumpernickel or a sourdough boule, that we have.

Joan’s on Third (Joan McNamara)

What’s your top selling cheese, and why do you think that’s the case?

Vintage Gouda – customers really enjoy the crunchiness, sweetness and the depth of the caramel, nutty flavor.

AND

Burrata – locally made, simple, creamy, great served with some warm bread and your favorite extra virgin olive oil drizzled over it.

What’s one cheese that customers may not know about that you’d recommend, and what do you like about it?

Cow’s Milk Taleggio from Northern Italy – rich, dense & delicious. Full fat cheese, does not taste like butter, tastes more like mushroom and grass, when perfectly ripe it is gooey and amazing.

What does your dream grilled cheese sandwich consist of?

First, lots of butter on the bread!! I like to add bacon to my grilled cheese. For a really decadent sandwich, I make a short rib grilled cheese with arugula and pickled red onions.

Nicole’s Gourmet Foods (Nicole Grandjean)

What’s your top selling cheese, and why do you think that’s the case?

I don’t think that there is a top selling cheese here at Nicole’s. We have such a broad variety of selections that there is a cheese for every customer. Finding each guest their perfect cheese is personal and I always ask them what they have liked in the past and we offer selections from there.

What’s one cheese that customers may not know about that you’d recommend, and what do you like about it?

To pick one is almost impossible. Every time we get a new cheese in the store and offer it to taste to our customers, we all fall in love. If I would have to pick my personal favorite it would be Sainte Maure, affine by Chantal Plasse. Everything we have from her is phenomenal – she selects and ages cheese for us in France and we fly them to our facility in Alhambra. It is a well balanced goat cheese where the flavor of the goat milk comes through without being aggressive.

What does your dream grilled cheese sandwich consist of?

Comte, which has the flavor of a sweeter Gruyere, grilled on baguette. I believe in allowing the flavors of the cheese to take center stage. In this case simplicity is key.

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