By Aaron Estes, Cheese Editor
Artisanal cheese has made its way to the forefront of the local food movement. Farmstead cheesemakers elevate the milk from their farms, and the rock star cheesemonger expounds upon the history, the background, and unique qualities of that particular cheese. So what is the best way to accomplish this?
Specialty cheese shops are all over New York City and surrounding areas to bring a piece of the farm to your table, but is that enough to distinguish one shop from another? If the quality of the product is essentially the same across the board, and the level of care is (in a good shop) similar as well, then what sets one shop apart from another?
C’est Cheese in Port Jefferson, NY taking a unique approach that may prove to establish itself as a destination point for cheese lovers out on Long Island.
Walking in, the cheese counter is at the front of the store off to the right. The cheese looks well cared for, offering a variety of milks and styles from across the globe. On my recent visit, the American section was pretty limited in comparison to the rest of the case. I hope that they expand their selection to incorporate some of the great American-made cheeses that are made not only in the Northeast, but the rest of the country.
In looking at the rest of the place in comparison to the cheese case, I can see that the focus goes well beyond a simple retail cut-and-wrap shop.
Want to come in to taste and buy some cheese to take home? Perfect. They have cheesemongers there ready to serve, offer suggestions, and answer your cheese-related questions.
Curious about cheese and beverage pairings? C’est Cheese has several taps with local beer, as well as wine available. Have them pull a pint for you, or pour a glass, and enjoy it with your custom created cheese plate.
The best way to describe this place is to classify it as a “Cheese Tavern.”
I really like the focus of C’est Cheese. There are a variety of ways to highlight the diverse qualities of cheese, and lovers of cheese have a chance to explore this from a variety of angles. Whether through beverage pairings, incorporated into a dish, or straight from the case, this shop in Port Jefferson is on the right track. I look forward to visiting again in a few months to see how this shop is fully realized.