If you are interested in American Cheese, please pick up a copy of the new issue of Savuer.
Savuer lists a number of good cheesemongers around the country who supposedly have good American cheese selections. One of the stores listed is Cheese Store of Beverly Hills where I shop frequently. Which is ridiculous.
The CSBH does not have a good selection of artisanal American cheese. In fact, I find them to be grudging about American cheese at best. The last time I enquired about a good new American cheese I was offered cheddar from an enormous block-- the kind you would slice for a sandwich. (And yes, I tasted it, and it was unimpressive.)
They do virtually nothing to promote American cheese and I have never had one suggested to me. They would far rather sell me an underripe or overripe European cheese than take the time to seek out and/or age some of the wonderful American cheeses being sold now.
Whole Foods- with its lack of cheesemonger and poor cheese service- does a much better job stocking American cheese.
La Brea Bakery probably does the best job. Their selection changes frequently but they often carry interesting raw milk American cheeses with intense flavor.
This is all especially galling given my recent trips to SF and buying cheese at the Cowgirl Creamery. Delicious, properly aged Red Hawk*, Vella Dry Jack (extra aged), and perfect, exceptional, difficult to obtain sheep's milk ricotta from Bellwether Farms.
* Related SF Cheese Gripe: the Red Hawk on display was not ripe. I had to ask for a ripe Red Hawk from the back and insist, that yes, I wanted a RIPE one. Do I not look like a person who likes stinky cheese? Red Hawk isn't even what I would call super stinky.
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