Cheese Shops

By Molly McDonough
The Cheese Shop of Concord

Massachusetts might not be a famous cheese hotspot, but there’s enough highbrow affluence, Old World influence, and dairy-rich diet tradition here to foster a love for the world’s best wedges and wheels. Whether you’re searching for that perfect bloomy from France, a hefty hunk of an Alpine, or a rustic wedge from rural New England, you’ll find it—and most likely, discover something new—at any of our favorite cheese shops.

Formaggio Kitchen

There’s a reason you’ll catch wind of conversations in unfamiliar tongues as you wander the aisles at Formaggio Kitchen; this is where Boston’s European expats come to find the best cheeses from their homelands. Formaggio runs a thriving school and trains some of the city’s best mongers—but what really shines is their singular selection. In order to stock cheeses you can’t find anywhere else, owners Ishan and Valerie Gurdal travel to tiny villages in search of family farms to partner with (talk about a dream job). Many of the artisanal cheeses they introduce are in America for the very first time. Of course, they also stock some of the best domestic and local cheeses, too. Just don’t expect to leave here with only dairy in tow; the wine and grocery selections at each location (West Cambridge, Kendall, and the South End) are equally tempting.

Curds & Co.

When stepping into Brookline Village’s Curds & Co., check your preconceptions at the door. This is no dusty ode to Old World fromageries. Instead, founders Jenn and Matt Mason set out to create a 21st century cheese shop, the kind they would have dreamed up if a cheese shop had never existed. The result is a stunning mix of tech, education, and really good cheese. You can download their app, Curdlist; sign up for classes or blindfolded tasting events; or consult with mongers who are trained to make shopping a breeze for even the most intimidated newbies. And if Brookline is too much of a trek, subscribe to the Curdbox: a monthly delivery of three curated cheeses, three accompaniments, a video, a podcast, and a Spotify playlist to pair with the cheese.

Wasik’s Cheese Shop

Opened by the late Stephen Wasik in 1979, Wellesley’s beloved Wasik’s Cheese Shop is now run by Stephen’s wife, Carol, alongside their sons Brad and Brian. And there never was a friendlier family business; smiling staff and abundant samples take any intimidation out of picking cheese. That’s essential, given that the cheese case can stock up to 300 selections at any given time. To ensure quality as well as quantity, the Wasiks curate a 3,000-cubic-foot cheese cave beneath the shop, where wheels patiently wait until they’re at peak maturation, ready to shine in the case. Although that case is the shop’s centerpiece, you’ll also find plenty of pairings here, from cured meats to groceries to wine and beer.

The Cheese Shop of Concord

If it’s the undisputed OG cheese purveyor you seek, look no further than The Cheese Shop of Concord, which opened in 1967. That’s right—it’s been around for over 50 years—and Peter Lovis, the shop’s third owner, ensures that it stays on the map. This is the kind of spot everyone wishes they had in their neighborhood: an institution with an exceptional cheese selection, plus solid sandwiches and specialty groceries. If a “cheese parade” sounds like your scene, mark Crucolo Day in your calendar. Each year in early December, the shop sets out a red carpet and rolls a 400-pound wheel of Crucolo cheese, imported direct from the Dolomites in Italy, down the city streets to much fanfare.

Bacco’s Wine and Cheese

Despite what the above spots might lead you to expect, cute cheese shops don’t only exist in quaint residential neighborhoods. Bacco’s Wine and Cheese is case in point. Smack-dab in the middle of busy Back Bay, this is a cheese- and wine-focused oasis that’s easy to swing by after work on your way to the T (hello, 5 to 7 p.m. daily wine tastings). The knowledgeable staff here have a simple goal: to make sure you leave with the cheese of your dreams, plus a perfect wine or beer to sip alongside it. To that end, the selection is tightly curated. Bonus: We love following Bacco’s on Instagram for daily tasting notes and pairing inspo. (If you aren’t using social media to scroll through cheese beauty shots, what are you even doing?).

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