I’m a bit of a cheese fancier you see and, since moving to the US, I’ve been on the lookout for mature cheddar. British supermarkets offer a huge selection of cheddars, ranging from mild to medium and from vintage white to extra, extra mature!
I’ve scoured Whole Foods, VONS, Target, Gelson’s, Bristol Farms and Trader Joe’s. They all sell “sharp” cheddar cheese, which tastes of nothing and only occasionally stock a strong Somerset or Canadian cheddar. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not looking for anything special or rare. In fact, these supermarkets do carry your stinky roquefort, stilton, and brie but not the pedestrian (but essential) mature cheddar cheese that I’m accustomed to.
A while ago we were driving along the picturesque PCH and we stopped at a cute cafe for lunch. I ordered some chips (fries) and a grilled cheese sandwich. To my horror, the sandwich had been filled with this horrible emulsified plastic cheese that should be reserved for hamburgers. I know it sounds dramatic, but I took one bite and couldn’t eat the rest.
Returning from our trip and craving a cheese and pickle sandwich, I came across Andrew’s Cheese Shop on Montana Avenue. I was drawn to this place for two reasons: Andrew is my dad’s name and their tagline “This Place Stinks” made me laugh. I sampled a couple of cheeses and picked a tangy seven-year-old cheddar called Old Quebec. A pound sounded like a nice round amount however, I’d been enjoying my sampling so much I’d failed to look at the price. I had a bit a fright when the cashier said: “That will be $29.12 please!” When I got home I called my dad to tell him I’d just bought the most expensive piece of cheese in my life. I wanted to know if he had tried it. He hadn’t, but he did a quick google and we realised the price was due to the long aging process to create the flavour. Fair enough.
I am now an Andrew’s Cheese Shop frequenter and recommend it to other cheese fanciers. The staff are very knowledgeable, they have a huge selection of cheese and their cheese crisps (an assortment of leftover cheeses melted and turned into crunchy snacks) are delicious.
I recently noticed that they offer Cheese 101 courses and a monthly “Fancy Smancy Grilled Cheese and Beer Night,” which consists of six courses (a salad, four beer-and-grilled-cheese pairings, followed by a beer float). Have you tried one of Andrew’s cheese evenings? I would love to know what you think if you have. Most important, do you know of any cheese stores in LA I should visit? DTLA Cheese sounds pretty good and I’m thinking of heading there next.
Andrew’s Cheese Shop Details:
Address: 728 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403