Artisan Cheese

CheeseFrom family farms to the well-kept caves of individual affineurs to our tiny shop, the cheese at Formaggio Essex gets treated with loving care every step of its way to your table. We handpick cheese from small producers whom we trust and whose methods we respect.

Do come experience our cheese. Each one tells a story. When we call a cheese artisanal, we truly mean it is created by an artisan who works by hand and by heart, true to the time-tested tradition of that cheese.

Let yourself be transported to France as you taste a Comté, made with summer milk and imbued with the dandelions and fennel that the cows graze upon in the foothills of Jura. Prefer Italy? Try a Pecorino Cinerino, its rind coated in the myrtle-leaf ash collected after the St. Anthony’s Day bonfires of Castelcivita, a small town nestled in the hills of Campania.

Composing a Cheese Course
Beginning or ending a meal with cheese, or serving a selection of cheese with wine or cocktails, is one of the most satisfying, least hassled ways to entertain. Choose among our wide selection of cheese, ranging in style, country of origin, and the milk it’s made from.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind as you plan your cheese course. We can help you every step of the way.

How Much Cheese to Serve
If you are serving cheese as an appetizer course or as a way to end the meal, you might want to choose one or two cheeses, each with an agreeable accompaniment like jam, honey, or nuts. Plan on 2-3 ounces of cheese total per guest.

Some ideas:

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano with shavings of Panforte
  • Ricotta di Pecora with Pumpkin-Ginger Confettura
  • Loire Valley Chèvre with Apricot Marmalade
  • Taleggio with Orange Mostarda
  • Stichelton with Chestnut Puree
  • Tilsiter with an earthy honey
  • Mil Ovejas with Marcona almonds

If cheese is the main event, consider offering between three and five cheeses. These, too, may be artfully paired with a condiment. In this case, plan on 3-4 ounces of cheese total per person.

Which three to five cheeses to choose? It depends. You could get a portion all your favorites—or you could select the cheeses according to a particular guiding principle.

Here is a classic example of five cheeses that balances textures, flavors, and the milk used, with one of each of the following:

  • Goat’s milk cheese: These are typically on the softer, milder side
  • Bloomy-rind cheese: Think brie, camembert, robiola
  • Blue cheese: Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton, or something lesser-known
  • Semi-hard: Something along the lines of Comté, Gruyère, young Gouda
  • Hard: Aged gouda, a Spanish sheep’s-milk cheese, or one of our many pecorinos, or Parmigiano-Reggiano