A treasure trove of neighborhood fromageries, these European shops each carry a unique array of local and small farmstead producers. Here’s where to go taste truly artisanal cheese, from the bloomy to the blue.Less
Paris is dotted with many outstanding cheese shops. This is the star of the trendy, diverse 10th arrondissement, founded in 2015 by cheesemonger couple, Laure Takahashi and Matthieu Vermorel, and it reflects their imaginative approach. They mature artisan cheeses in-house, creating exclusive variations by adding their own spices or wild herbs—such as Picodon de Chevre, a goat milk cheese from the Rhône with wild garlic flowers, and Saint-Marcellin, a weepy cow’s milk cheese with fir shoots.
Once you’ve done the obligatory drop-ins at Neal’s Yard or Paxton & Whitfield, it’s time to head north to Great Britain’s quintessential mom-and-pop shop, with its stacks of aging wheels of farmhouse cheese, hand-lettered signs, and country ambiance. Located 50 miles north of Manchester in a converted stone barn with views of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this perennial award-winner was founded by Andy and Kathy Swinscoe in 2012 with a focus on real farmhouse British cheese.
A young husband-and-wife team, both alums of the dean of Madrid’s contemporary cheese shops, Cultivo—represent Spain’s new generation of top cheesemongers. They opened their sleek, minimalist shop in 2020, naming it after the archaic Castilian term for a cheesemaking mold, to celebrate artisan and raw-milk production. Amidst the airy wood shelving, whole wheels of farmhouse and mountain delicacies are on display, such as Mare Nostrum from the Sierra de Sevilla or the Galician Queixo do País.
Inspired by Pierre Androuet himself, Bernard Antony, then a grocer, started his cheese business in the early 1980s. He was joined by his son Jean-Francois, and together they’re now trusted suppliers to a score of Michelin three-star chefs throughout France. Visit their shop, in Alsace’s Vieux-Ferrette, reserve a private tasting in their seven aging rooms, and you’ve experienced the best of fine French cheese culture—80 cheeses in nine categories, all the big names and more.
Betty Koster is Holland’s foremost cheese ambassador, a master selector and oplegger. She and husband Martin founded their business in 1989 with a first shop featuring a selection of 400 cheeses in a modern industrial setting just off the docks in her hometown of Ijmuiden, and the second is in the city itself. Koster’s select exported farmhouse Goudas—L’Amuse, Brabander and Wilde Weide—have taken the American market by storm. Visiting them at their source is a cheese-lover's dream.
Frédéric Van Tricht is Belgium’s foremost affineur and exporter, whose cheeses are just beginning to penetrate the US specialty market. His original shop, located in the Antwerp suburb of Berchem, offers a selection of about 350 cheeses—one-third of them Belgian, another third French, and the rest international—but his focus remains on raw-milk farmstead production. His small satellite shop is one of the booths at the De Koninck Brewery in Antwerp, also the site of their aging caves.
This family shop is located in Barcelona’s upscale residential neighborhood of Sant Gervasi, sophisticated yet maintaining a village feel with its narrow streets, parks, and squares. Founder Marisa Taribó and her daughter Aran own and run it, and offer roughly half Spanish cheeses and the rest European selections, with an emphasis on regionality you won’t see outside of Catalonia. Ninety-five percent are made with raw milk.
Cheesemonger and affineur René Tourrette’s original shop (opened in 1988) is near Strasbourg’s11th-century cathedral. Today a next door restaurant features fondues and raclettes, plus large cheese plates. The business is named after the world’s largest cheese dome, which is 6 feet wide and can accommodate 90 cheeses. Tourette’s selection of 150 cheeses from across France, most ripened in their in-house cave, are fully artisanal, with a raw-milk emphasis and regional accent.
Three generations of family have operated this shop in Bra, Italy, run out of the bottom of their family home, from which current operator Fiorenzo Giolito supplies hundreds of restaurants throughout Italy with butter and cheeses.
Mons is Lyon's—and arguably France’s—affineur, ‘monger, and exporter par extraordinaire. The original family shop in Roanne (1983), on the banks of the Loire, is worth a look, but Hervé’ Mons’ booth at the Halles Paul Bocuse food market in Lyon is the one to visit. Opened in 2007, it displays 120 cheeses at a time—90% French, with a regional emphasis. Many of his picks are aged at one of his four aging facilities. Don’t miss his raw-milk versions of classics such as Camembert and Époisses.