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Shop Talk: Righteous Cheese in Washington, D.C.

Righteous Cheese

Set foot inside DC’s Union Market and you’ll find oysters on the half shell, gelato in freshly pressed waffle cones, and Indian dosas perfuming the air. You’ll also find some of the country’s best artisan cheeses at Carolyn Stromberg’s cut-to-order counter, Righteous Cheese. “We’re in a big food hall, so people often come up to us and are like ‘Whoa, cheese!’ They immediately want to talk,” she says.

Before being tapped by the city’s premier food destination, Stromberg plated cheese for DC’s leading restaurants, worked in wholesale, and headed her own cheese consulting company. When she opened her shop, she brought years of knowledge and passion to the Righteous experience. “Letting the customer know that they’re in good hands is what drives us. When someone asks for a recommendation, we don’t say ‘What are you looking for?’ or ‘What do you like?’ It’s our job to figure that out,” she says.

In addition to 80 or 90 aged and 10 fresh cheeses, Stromberg also offers collections online, a monthly subscription club, and pairing classes such as the annual favorite, “Chocolate, Cheese, and Baller Bubbly.” “You can come to Righteous Cheese and count on a curated experience,” Stromberg says.

culture: What’s your current favorite cheesy recipe?

Carolyn Stromberg : Tortellini en brodo using parmesan broth (made with leftover rinds) in lieu of chicken broth. It’s a hands-off dish that’s not heavy, but it will still warm you up from the inside out.

culture: Is there a local cheesemaker you’re particularly excited about?

CS: The Farm at Doe Run. On a recent visit, my 10-month-old was loving their Damselfly, a tangy and bright bloomy rind. You know it’s good cheese when both babies and professional cheesemongers are chowing down.

culture: What’s the weirdest cheese pairing you’ve ever had—and did you like it?

CS: Camembert wrapped in nori seaweed. The mushroom notes of the camembert and the brininess of the nori worked together to bring out the umami in both. The textures were unusual and different, but it was really good.

1309 Fifth St. N.E.
Washington, DC
Wed.–Fri. 11a.m.–7 p.m.

Sat. 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
Sun. 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

Polina Chesnakova

Polina Chesnkova is a Seattle-based food writer, cooking class instructor, and the author of Hot Cheese: Over 50 Gooey, Oozy, Melty Recipes.

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