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The nation’s best cheese shops combine top-tier imports and local specialties to create gourmet havens. From a worker-owned collective in Northern California, to an outpost of the unexpected in Atlanta, these homegrown emporiums will blow your rind. Here are the 10 best cheese shops in America.

Rubiner’s, in Great Barrington, Mass, counts David Bouley, Alfred Portale and Dan Barber as customers.

Here’s to American ingenuity. Despite antiquated import laws that impose strict regulations on cheeses made with raw and unpasteurized milk, cities across the United States have managed to open some pretty superlative centers of curds and whey. The nation’s best cheese shops combine top-tier imports and local specialties to create gourmet havens – and they do it all within legal bounds. From a worker-owned collective in Northern California to an outpost of the unexpected in Atlanta, these homegrown emporiums will blow your rind. Here are the 10 best cheese shops in America.

  1. Seattle, WA: The Calf & Kid
    Brooklyn expat Sheri Lavigne opened this ode to the wheel in Capitol Hill in 2010, specializing in small producers from Washington State. Finds like Yarmuth Farms Dylan — made with raw goat’s milk — and Gothberg Farms’ fresh chevre sit alongside fresh breads from nearby Macrina Bakery. Last month, Lavigne launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to open a cheese bar, where she will pair local lactose with Pacific Northwestern beers and wines. 1531 Melrose Avenue, 206-467-5447
  2. Atlanta, GA: Star Provisions
    An offshoot of Westside fine dining institution Bacchanalia, this gourmet emporium stocks lesser-known Southern cheeses by local purveyors Nature’s Harmony and Many Folds Farm, as well as international varieties, organic produce, cookbooks, tableware and a Niman Ranch-heavy meat counter. Tim Gaddis, an ACS-certified cheese professional, heads up the cheese counter and hosts regular tastings and a popular cheese-of-the-month club. 1198 Howell Mill Road NW, 404-365-0410
  3. New Haven, CT: Caseus Fromagerie
    New Haven native Jason Sobocinski’s epicurean empire encompasses an incredible cheese retailer, popular restaurant with an epic grilled cheese, and an award-winning food truck. The cellar-level fromagerie sells over 100 cheeses, plus locally sourced preserves, pickled products from a Yale graduate and bake sale-worthy brownies, individually wrapped and studded with tangy chevre. Mercy. 93 Whitney Avenue, 203-6-CHEESE
  4. Cambridge, MA: Central Bottle Wine + Provisions
    Partially owned by the team from Cambridge’s stellar The Blue Room, this Kendall Square shop is helmed by cheesemonger Andrew Rich. A man on a mission, Rich’s rotating cast of 70-150 cheeses are sourced from local creameries and dairies, and star in his monthly cheese club. The shop also sells small production, biodynamic and organic wines. 196 Massachusetts Avenue, 617-225-0040
  5. Tillamook, OR: Tillamook Cheese Factory
    A dairy cooperative 70 miles outside of Portland, Tillamook produces cheese, ice cream and yogurt made with milk from 105 local farmers. The on-site cheese shop sells neatly stacked “loafs” of Tillamook’s award-winning cheddar and squeaky cheese curds, plus small-batch products from Oregon Cheese Guild members, like Willamette Valley Havarti and Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue. 4175 Highway 101 North, 503-815-1300
  6. New York, NY: Bedford Cheese Shop
    At two locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Bedford’s friendly staff shares wisdom about unusual imports, slices samples with enthusiastic élan, and packs up a stellar array of Olympic Provisions’ charcuterie, fresh duck eggs and local foodstuffs like Brooklyn Brine pickles and Mast Brothers chocolate. The Manhattan branch also has an educational facility called The Homestead, which hosts instructional classes like Cheesemaking 101, and the appealingly titled American Whiskey and Cheese. 229 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn and 67 Irving Place, New York, 718-599-7588
  7. Madison, WI: Fromagination
    With over 116 registered cheesemakers and sellers across the state, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in Dairy Land, U.S.A. Go straight to the source at this Madison shop, rich with Wisconsin-made artisanal cheeses from award-winning local purveyors like Hidden Springs and Driftless and Emmi Roth, as well as Spanish, Australian, English and Italian varieties. Don’t miss the sandwich of the month, which pairs local delicacies like Nueske’s smoked ham with Fromagination’s own ripe fontina. 12 South Carroll Street, 608-255-2430
  8. Berkeley, CA: The Cheese Board Collective
    Since 1967, this worker-owned cooperative has been bringing 400 locally and internationally sourced goat, sheep and cow milk cheeses to the people. If the freshly baked breads, including focaccia, challah and painfully perfect sourdough baguettes, aren’t enough to start a revolution, consider a stop in the pizza shop next door. Cheese Board Pizzeria sells daily slice specials and hosts a different live music performance each day and night. 1504 and 1512 Shattuck Avenue, 510-549-3183
  9. Boulder, CO: Cured
    Founded by former UCI ProTour road cycling champion Will Frischkorn, Cured focuses on small-batch, hand-cut American cheeses from Colorado farms, plus select artisanal imports like Swiss Nufenen. Cured also partners with local culinary businesses like Boulder’s renowned Redstone Meadery to host mead and cheese pairings, and brings in local cookbook authors for cheese-centric forums. 1825 B. Pearl Street, 720-389-8096
  10. Great Barrington, MA: Rubiner’s Cheesemongers & Grocers
    This small but mighty shop in the Southern Berkshires counts David Bouley, Alfred Portale and Dan Barber among its customers. Dedicated to perfectly ripened cheese, former CIA analyst (not a typo) Matthew Rubiner sources from dairies and creameries throughout the United States and Europe, and has been honored with cheesemongering awards from Queens, New York to Tours, France. 264 Main Street, 413-528-0488

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