A trip to Switzerland left BobtheBigPig jonesing for high-caliber cheeses, from stinky chunks of aged Appenzeller to mild bites of Vacherin. It can be hard to find some great European cheeses in the U.S. (strict rules about pasteurized milk, for starters), but Chowhounds did point BobtheBigPig to five LA-area shops for scoring a cheese fix.
• Andrew Steiner (pictured) of Andrew’s Cheese Shop worked as the full-time "Maitre d’Fromage" at Patina for years before opening his own store beachside in Santa Monica. On display are more than 200 cheeses—most are straight from the farms where their milk's from. Tasting is welcome. Steiner hosts the occasional Cheese 101 class and has been known to roast his own Marcona almonds. 728 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica; 310-393-3308.
• The cheese case at Culver City's Surfas stocks a wide, well-edited selection. Chowhound Dommy says the man behind the magic is “an oft misunderstood GENIUS” named David. He's happy to help you choose. 8777 W. Washington Boulevard, Culver City; 310-559-4770.
• There’s more to Wally’s than wine. The cheese section is so popular it warrants its own building, the stand-alone Cheese Box across the parking lot from the main store. Hard-to-find cheeses, chocolates, also a killer sandwich menu with heroes and really good cheeses in the grilled cheese. Of course. 2107 Westwood Boulevard, Los Angeles; 310-475-0606.
• Eastside cheese-lovers lean heavily on The Cheese Store of Silverlake for both local and imported selections. Rounds are organized by general type: cow, sheep, goat, and blue. The store also has a nice selection of wines and gourmet foods. 3926 W. Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles; 323-644-7511.
• The sister-owned Cheese Cave in Claremont has made a name for itself in a short amount of time. Dommy loves showing up to "taste with abandon, chat freely with the staff and browse for hours." There are also three daily sandwich options, but go early if you want one of those—the supply is limited. 325 Yale Avenue, Claremont; 909-625-7560.
Discuss: ISO cheese shop
Photo from Andrew's Cheese Shop