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Cheese Shop Owners Share Perspectives on the Latest Industry Trends

Plus, how they got started with their businesses.

During the pandemic, business owners faced significant challenges that continue to impact them today. To gain insight into the industry, we interviewed several new shop owners to learn about their founding stories and the trends they anticipate for the future. Read on to discover what they shared with us.

Milk Made

612 23rd St. S, Fargo, North Dakota

Owner: Megan Lewis

Milk Made, a quirky shop in Fargo, North Dakota, serves up cheese and accompaniments with plenty of cheer. The company started as a catering business serving grazing platters, but when the pandemic hit, they had to adapt to survive. They found a creative solution by selling wedges at a socially-distant farmer’s market while educating and connecting with their community. Founder Megan Lewis, who has been a cheesemonger for eight years, says this outreach became a “huge model for their business.”

This past fall, Milk Made took another step forward by launching a brick-and-mortar shop that offers board-building classes, making it the place to go for those who want to learn more about cheese. The store welcomes community members with luminous decor and colorful, inviting features.

Expanding the business further, Milk Made introduced Bessie, a 16-foot food truck that echoes a block of cheddar with its bright yellow design. Bessie is a fun and innovative way to sell cheese, whether at local pop-ups or events, and this unique business approach has made Milk Made a favorite among local cheese lovers.

What cheese trend do you see on the horizon?

A trend I’m excited about is pairing cheese with non-alcoholic beverages like mocktails in fun and innovative ways. That way, it’s not about pairing wine or cider but about expanding people’s ideas of what cheese can go with.

What’s your favorite cheese pairing right now?

I have actually become obsessed with pairing ginger with delicious aged Gouda such as Beemster classic. I’m infatuated with the taste; we tried it with ginger snap cookies, ginger tea, and pickled ginger, resulting in a really fun flavor combination.

The Aging Moon

Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

Owner: Abby Hudock

Abby Hudock is a passionate professional who honed her skills working at a cheese shop for over seven years. During the pandemic, she used her knowledge and platform to amass a social media following. Now, she is putting down roots in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a new brick-and-mortar shop that promises to be a haven for cheese lovers.

The cozy space will offer a variety of small boards to enjoy onsite or as take out for special occasions. Each plate will feature a carefully curated selection of cheeses and accompaniments, and the menu will also showcase a range of delights, including coffee, tea, and pastries that pair well with cheese.

“My goal is to follow what the industry is looking for, and most importantly, what my clients are looking for,” Hudock says. She is committed to supporting local vendors and plans to source cheese board accompaniments from nearby producers. Eventually, the shop aims to host educational events that will help people discover the joys of cheese and build community.

What cheese trend do you see on the horizon?

I’ve noticed dessert cheese trending—such as pairing Champagne and Brie, or chocolate with Purple Haze from Cypress Grove. People are looking for a nightcap with cheese rather than starting their dinners with a board.

What’s your favorite cheese pairing right now?

I have been obsessed with Chianti wine, and I cannot stop drinking it with Asiago wrapped in olive oil–soaked rosemary. The Chianti has a little Italian spice and smokiness to it so it pulls out that rosemary flavor. It is so good.

Cheese Meat Board

2054 N Broadway, Denver, Colorado

Owner: Melanie Flint

When COVID reshaped our ability to build connections, Cheese Meat Board, founded by Melanie Flint, emerged to fill the gap. Flint’s travels across Italy and Spain, where she savored aperitivo and tapas, inspired her to create beautifully hand crafted grazing boards and boxes. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Flint’s unwavering dedication helped her successfully sustain her business.

Her focus is providing elegant and approachable experiences without pretension. When social distancing sparked demand for creative ways to connect, Flint leveraged the opportunity to position her shop during these trying times. “People were looking for nice ways to treat their loved ones on special occasions during quarantine,” Flint says.

Despite these challenges, she successfully mastered the art of providing beloved cheese experiences for her customers. Thanks to the steady community support—who sang her praises on social media—she continues to offer services like grazing tables and cheese plates for special moments.

What cheese trend do you see on the horizon?

We have a motto: Presentation without pretension. We preach “cheese plates for all” instead of a cheese board in an expensive, stuffy French restaurant. I love seeing spreads becoming mainstream, even for just a few friends. If you think about trends like #GirlDinner, it’s cool to see cheese becoming accessible to wider audiences.

What’s your favorite cheese pairing right now?

I’ve been sampling loads of jams and chutneys and putting those on everything. There’s a great Colorado brand called PRiMO, and I love spreading their blackberry and serrano pepper preserves on Mimolette for sweet and nutty bites with a touch of heat.


Ashia Aubourg

Ashia Aubourg is culture's Assistant Digital Editor. She received her BA in Food Studies and Policy Studies from Syracuse University, where she researched components that make up equitable food systems. She previously held print and digital roles at Food & Wine, Cuisine Noir, America's Test Kitchen, and others, where her writing unearthed underrepresented narratives within food, travel, and culture. Before starting her writing career, she held food policy and social impact roles across various nonprofits and companies. Ashia currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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