Shop Talk: Our Staff's Go-To Cheese Counters | culture: the word on cheese
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Shop Talk: Our Staff’s Go-To Cheese Counters

Editor’s Local Pick:



Like many noteworthy spots in Maine, Morse’s Sauerkraut is not a place you will stumble across on your way to somewhere else. Morse’s legendary kraut—made the same way since 1910—and crisp pickles are sold throughout the state, but a visit to the market and deli is well worth the nearly eight-mile drive down a winding country road from Route One. In the market, you’ll find shelves laden with hard-to-find foods from around the world (Norwegian lutefisk, anyone?) and the deli cases are stocked with a staggering array of cheeses, charcuterie, and smoked meats. “We love what we do,” saysCody La Montagne, who acquired Morse’s with her husband, James Gammon, in 2015. “We feel incredibly blessed that we get to spend our days tasting cheese, swapping recipes and telling stories across the deli counter.”

“Morse’s is a destination from almost anywhere in Maine, and I’ll gladly drive the 90 minutes each way to stock up on unusual mustards, preserves and marzipan-filled chocolates, try German cheeses I’ve never heard of, and indulge my fondness for land jaeger, a slightly spicy, air-dried sausage. And half-sour pickles and kraut, of course. Plus, the scent when you walk in the door is heavenly.”—Susan Sherrill Axelrod, editor-in-chief

Morse’s Sauerkraut
3856 Washington Rd., Waldoboro, ME

Creative Director’s Local Pick:



This Alabama shop is equal parts rustic escape and artisan cheese paradise. Store owner Kristi Barber modeled its charming architecture and onsite dining set-up after a trip to Scotland. “I found myself looking out over the lawn and everyone was enjoying the day, sipping wine and nibbling on great cheese. That’s where the idea was born to bring this feeling to our hometown,” Barber says. “After finding our perfect location—a former gas station that looks like a cottage—we opened.” The building reflects the southern charm that awaits inside: in the fully stocked cheese case, made-to-order meals, and accompaniment selection that are filled with locally made products keeping Mobile turophiles coming back for more.

“I love The Cheese Cottage because aesthetically, it’s an actual bungalow that looks as if it’s been plucked from a Hans Christian Andersen tale in the heart of a town that holds a very special place in my heart—Mobile, AL. I love their range of charcuterie board and wine-pairing classes, and especially love that it’s a one-stop shop for all your cheesy entertaining needs providing wine, beer, and accoutrements for anything from a football tailgate to a Mardi Gras celebration. Fun fact: Mardi Gras originated in Mobile, AL! (I swear, Google it!)”—Mallory Scyphers, creative director

The Cheese Cottage
650 St. Louis St., Mobile, AL, 36602

Founder’s Local Pick:



A staple destination for artisan cheese lovers in the Berkshires, Rubiner’s Cheesemongers and Grocers (and Rubi’s Coffee & Sandwiches) has a 17-year history of bringing joy to the “small-ish” town of Great Barrington through a curated selection of international foods and accompaniments. And regardless of the brutal seasonality of their location, owner Matt Rubiner says they have somehow been able to thrive—even during the pandemic—to keep their business on solid footing. That’s because customers just keep coming back. “Specifically, people come looking for gooey scoops of our Gorgonzola Cremificato, or Normandy butter cut from the slab,” Rubiner says. “In a bigger sense, I think—I hope—people come in to experience our palate, our sense of taste, our curation, which courses through everything we make or sell. I think point of view is important to people.”

“The best part about visiting a specialty cheese shop like Rubiner’s is that I can cartwheel into it, in a mask, say ‘what’s the best thing you have today?’ and be greeted by name and cut a perfect wedge. Most recently that perfect wedge was Weston Wheel, a sheep milk tomme from Woodcock Farm that normally doesn’t escape from far western Vermont farmers markets.”—Stephanie Skinner, founder

Rubiner’s Cheesemongers & Grocers
264 Main St., Great Barrington, MA 01230

Monica Petrucci

Monica is Culture's former Social Media Editor. Coming from a formaggio-obsessed Italian family, she was very excited to combine her passions for cheese and writing at Culture. She loves experimenting in the kitchen and pairing wine and cheese in her spare time.

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