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Cheesemongers Share What Cheese They’re Most Excited About Right Now

In the newest issue of culture, we spoke to three cheese shop owners from around the country to ask them what cheese they’re most excited about right now. Read on to find out what they said, and to learn what their favorite winter cheese and beverage pairing is!

Anaïs Saint-André Loughran, co-owner

4402 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. | chantalscheese.com

Anaïs Saint-André Loughran and her husband, Chris Loughran, opened Chantal’s Cheese Shop in 2018 to bring a new kind of cheese experience to Pittsburgh.

Born in Lyon, France, Anaïs always considered good cheese a part of her life. But it wasn’t until she moved to New York City and began working at Greene Grape Provisions in Brooklyn that she decided to pursue a career in cheese. She and her husband, a Pennsylvania native, moved to Pittsburgh to open their dream shop, which they named for Anaïs’ late mother. In addition to an expertly curated cheese selection, the shop offers classes, catering, and even raclette equipment rentals.

1. Which cheese are you most excited about right now? Why?
I think right now I am so excited about Amber Kunik from Nettle Meadow Farm in upstate New York. This little one is made of goat’s milk with some cow’s cream added. It is a triple crème that has been washed with Adirondack beer and bourbon and aged longer than the regular Kunik. As you cut into it, it almost breaks into shards, yet it is still buttery and rich on the palate. It kind of blew my mind the first time I tried it.

2. Favorite summer cheese and beverage pairing?
My all-time favorite during the summer is goat cheese and a rosé from the Provence region of France. I love a wonderful goat cheese. One of those aged goat cheeses, with a gooey creamline and chalky yet fudgy center, like Shabby Shoes—a play on the French Chabichou—from Blakesville Creamery in Wisconsin.

3. Favorite winter cheese and beverage pairing?
It might be cliché but I love blue cheese and port. I don’t do it enough, but it is one of my favorites. Jack’s Blue from Parish Hill Creamery, for example, is a great one. The Stilton-style blue is firm yet fudgy, not too strong, with some notes of earth and hay.

1 E Market Street, Red Hook, N.Y. | cornercounter.com

Lauren Cunningham-Housman, owner

After seven years of planning, Lauren Cunningham- Housman’s dream of opening her own cheese shop finally became a reality. This past April, Cunningham-Housman opened the Corner Counter in the small village of Red Hook, New York Her journey to cheese has been winding; after working in finance for a decade, she quit her job to pursue her passion for food—specifically cheese. She worked in the caves at Murray’s Cheese, learning the art of affinage, and then behind the counter and in the office, all the while envisioning having a shop.

The pandemic gave her the time she needed to hatch her plan: “I was stuck at home with two kids and started working on a business plan. We went upstate and did recon for where to open a shop, stumbled upon Red Hook, and decided it was the right place to raise our family.” Her goal was to find a community she could support and “create a place where the people can gather and that feels like an extension of home.” With a cut-to-order cheese counter, made-to-order sandwiches, grab-and-go dinner options, and a wine bar, the Corner Counter offers much more than just cheese. “It fills a need in the community,” Lauren affirms.

1. Which cheese are you most excited about right now? Why?
Spring Brook Farm Cheese Tarentaise. We recently brought this cheese into the shop. I hadn’t tasted it in a few years, and I forgot how complex and delicious it is. It’s so versatile for pairing and cooking with.

2. Favorite summer cheese and beverage pairing?
A burrata dish and a sparkling rosé or a crisp, mineral-driven white. Perfectly light and refreshing.

3. Favorite winter cheese and beverage pairing?
In the winter, I’m a big fan of a good stout paired with a spoonable cheese like Uplands Cheese Rush Creek Reserve or Jasper Hill Farm Winnimere.

Kate J. Truini, owner

900 Main St., Unit 5, Oakville, Conn. | newcurdsontheblock.com

Kate J. Truini is a champion of local cheese producers. In 2021 she founded New Curds on the Block to bridge the gap between cheesemakers and consumers in her region, which is just outside of Hartford, Connecticut. Having started out as a mobile monger, Kate sold local cheese at farmers’ markets, fairs, and events until she opened her brick-and-mortar location in November 2022. Kate travels to local farms weekly, not only to pick up cheese, but also to offer support and listen to her suppliers’ concerns. She takes the time to develop relationships with cheesemakers so she can better support them and tell their stories.

1. Which cheese are you most excited about right now? Why?
I am pretty jazzed about Smorbier from High Lawn Farm in Lee, Massachusetts. It’s been in development and the wheels we’ve gotten recently just keep getting better and better! The cheese has a tacky rind and a line of smoky hot peppers that cuts through a velvety smooth, grassy paste. It presents beautifully and melts like a dream on a burger or some grilled veg.

2. Favorite summer cheese and beverage pairing?
A pudgy washed rind with an orange wine. Funk on funk.

3. Favorite winter cheese and beverage pairing?
A spruce-wrapped bloomy with glögg so boozy you can light it on fire.

Josie Krogh

Josie Krogh is culture's Digital Strategy Lead. She earned her master's degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics from The University of Georgia. Josie developed a love of food while working at farmstands in the D.C. area as a young adult, and discovered her love of cheese while living and working on a dairy farm on Martha's Vineyard. She is passionate about the food supply chain, fresh stone fruit, and dogs. Josie currently lives in Catskill, NY.

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