The Best Cheese Stores In Los Angeles
I remember the first bite of cheese I had during a five-month stint in Paris. It was a crottin de chavignol, with its undulating brain-like rind and dense, lightly yellow interior. The pure goat taste and creamy texture provided a sour, tangy, and delicious contrast to a slice of baguette with a perfect crunch/fluff ratio. I felt delivered unto cheese heaven, and immediately grieved the missed dairy opportunities of my life spent in America.
Sadly, that day is in my past, as is regular access to fresh French cheese. Luckily, though, Los Angeles has some amazing cheese shops (fromageries, if you will) to fill the void for all of us who don’t live an international lifestyle. Here are some of the best local places to get your camembert and La Tur fix.
DTLA Cheese. (Photo by Ann G. via Yelp)
The central section of Grand Central Market is a subway tile overdose, what with Madcapra, Wexler’s Deli, and DTLA Cheese all serving food out of slick white walls and counters, but don’t let the aesthetic fool you: these places are legit. DTLA Cheese in particular. The small stand has both a well-curated and very knowledgeable takeaway cheese section alongside some killer small baguette sandwiches and larger, more elaborate dishes (grilled cheese, avocado toast, etc). They prepare everything with care and have deep knowledge about the cheese they’re providing. You’d think this would be a prerequisite for a cheese shop, but being able to speak with a confident cheesemonger isn’t always a guarantee. They offer cheese classes and gift bags as well as a well-curated selection of foods and snacks to accompany the great cheese.
DTLA Cheese is located in Grand Central Market at 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 290-3060.
Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. (Photo by Terry S. via Yelp)
CHEESE STORE OF BEVERLY HILLS
The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills is the closest place Los Angeles gets to a European style fromagerie. The breadth of its selection, the cheesemongers’ commitment to the craft, and the lack of hip aesthetic truly transport any patron into the heart of an old world cheese experience. The store turns 50 this year, which in L.A. means it may as well be the oldest thing in this city. Plus, they use a medieval font for their logo, in case anyone ever gets confused about the image they’re trying to present to the world. They offer regular cheese and wine tastings (reservations required) and have a partnership with Amazon Fresh, so go in to learn your new favorite cheese and then get it delivered with your regular groceries.
The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills is located at 419 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 278-2855.
Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits, & Cheese (Photo by T.K. via Yelp)
LARCHMONT VILLAGE WINE, SPIRITS, AND CHEESE
In the trying-to-pose-as-a-small-town-but-really-it’s-the-middle-of-Los-Angeles neighborhood of Larchmont Village sits a lovely cheese and wine shop. Its cheese selection isn’t quite as comprehensive as some of the other places, but it’s reliable and the store comes with the added bonus of an inexpensive wine selection. The real perk about this place is its daily sandwich offerings. The sandwiches come on freshly baked ciabatta and baguettes and feature classic deli meat/cheese combinations, but the sandwiches are fresh and well-made. As much as Los Angeles offers a glut of restaurants to serve every possible cultural region or dietary restriction, good sandwiches are actually pretty hard to come by. Larchmont Cheese recognizes that sometimes all we really need is really fresh bread with some good meat and cheese piled in between, and their packed lunch crowd proves it.
Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits, & Cheese is located at 223 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, (323) 856-8699.
WALLY'S WINES AND SPIRITS
Wally’s is like, the Rolls-Royce of cheese shops. It helps that it’s mostly made a name for itself as a wine purveyor, and the restaurant sometimes gets guests like Bill Clinton, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that, underneath all of it, there's a very, very good cheese store. The cheesemongers can answer any question you might have and are great at opening new flavor doors to the uninitiated. It also has a couple tent sales every year with deep wine and cheese discounts, so us plebs can feel like some rich folk and pretend we know how big a deal it is for certain vintages to go below $20 a bottle, and certain cheeses to go below $30 a pound.
Wally's is located at 2107 Westwood Blvd, West Los Angeles, (310) 475-0606.
Farmshop's cheese counter. (Photo by Jonathan W. via Yelp)
If you want to buy high-quality cheese among rich people wearing athleisure who seem to exist in a world where time does not matter, then go buy cheese at Farmshop in Brentwood. They have a really phenomenal selection of cheeses, high-end snacks, and an extensive stock of wine as well. The cheesemongers are kind and helpful and bestow a glow of money onto you while you walk around the small space. It’s perfect for pretending you’re the Madeline Martha Mackenzie of Southern California, buying snacks for the farm-to-table dinner party you’re hosting at your Malibu mansion. You can cast some wistful looks at the Pacific Ocean, all while holding some well-aged comte.
Farmshop is located at Brentwood Country Mart, 225 26th St #25, Santa Monica, (310) 566-2400.
In all honesty, Trader Joe’s has some very good quality cheese for the price. Its selection is a little more varied and curated than any regular grocery store, and the prices are far more reasonable than somewhere like Whole Foods. There’s a Trader Joe’s in every neighborhood as well, so it allows for ease of access and a very low barrier of entry when it comes to cheese know-how. Not everyone wants to go knee-deep in cheese jargon and history. After all, if you’re getting a picnic to take to the Hollywood Bowl, how much are you really going to be paying attention to the nuances of several cheeses’ flavor profiles? Much like their wine selection, TJ’s respects its customers’ desire for quality without making them feel like they have to prove something to get the good stuff. It doesn’t offer anything worth writing cheese memoirs about, but for the price and availability, sometimes it’s the best way to go.
Trader Joe's has several locations across Los Angeles.