The Cheese Store
Today’s guest review comes from Hoboken411 contributor “She’s Crafty.”
The Cheese Store Hoboken
I was lucky enough to be invited to do a cheese tasting at The Hoboken Cheese Store located in the Monroe Center for the Arts. The Cheese Store is owned and operated by Chung Park, and to say the least, Chung is a complete expert on the subject of cheese! To me, this is first and foremost reason for buying cheese at the Cheese Store. It’s not just grocery shopping, it’s cheese education.
Before I get into the tasting, I do want to mention in addition to cheese, his clean, comfy store carries all kinds of high quality crackers, breads & snacks as well as Ciao Bella sorbet & ice cream. He also serves delicious sandwiches, made to order, on fresh bread from Balthazar, which is delivered to the store daily.
The menu of sandwiches and specials changes daily, with at least five different “special” sandwiches daily including tasty treats like Fresh Mozzarella, Roasted Tomatoes, Fresh Basil Leaf, Balsamic Vinaigrette on Baguette & French Ham, French Brie, Dijon, Green Leaf on Baguette. There is also an all Natural Roast Beef, Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, Aioli, Green Leaf on Multigrain. And since the bread comes from Balthazar, you know it’s not your ordinary loaf of bread.
The updated “schedule of sandwiches” can be found on his website www.thecheesestorehoboken.com.
Chung also features a Cheese Lunch that I cannot wait to take advantage of very soon! It’s basically an entire lunch made up of different cheeses (your choice), fruit and nuts. $6.99 for the top shelf cheeses and $5.99 for the second tier cheeses. Nice way to have your own little cheese tasting while catching up on the latest Hoboken411 articles.
Find out more about the cheeses after the jump!!
(The April 2008 Cheese Store review, continued…)
Let the cheese tasting begin!
Our first cheese was called “Kunik” and was a soft, “brie-like” cheese that is made in Warrensburg, NY. I immediately fell in love with it. 1. Because it tasted fantastic and 2. Because I grew up about an hour north of Warrensburg and was seriously amazed that a cheese this good could from upstate New York.
The Kunik is made from goats milk and is considered “soft-ripened”, which means as it ages, the texture becomes softer. This soft texture almost made it seem more buttery and dreamy than it tasted. Chung handed us mini spoonfuls of this delicious spread that I licked every last bit of from my spoon. The taste was pretty strong and a tad salty, but who doesn’t love that? Chung isn’t allowed to serve booze in his store, but I have a feeling this cheese would have paired nicely with some Champagne. $27.99/lb
The next cheese was called Fromager D’affinois. It’s a french cheese made from cows milk that is also soft ripened. I found this to be a strong salty cheese that had a pleasing taste. Fromager d’Affinois is similar to Brie in production, appearance and flavor. This cheese has a soft oozing texture inside with a harder rind on the outside. The soft texture makes it a perfect spreading cheese for bread and sandwiches. This is the cheese that is used in Chung’s Turkey Dijon & Brie sandwich that is featured on Tuesdays. $12.99/lb
The next cheese was called Piantino, which is an italian cheese from the Tuscan region. In Tuscany, the quality of simple food is stressed so you know that each and every ingredient that goes into this cheese it of the utmost quality. It’s a simple cheese made from goats milk and it’s a tender, easy to eat, cheese. This succulent and milky Italian cheese is fairly mild and appeals greatly to those people that tend to shy away from really strong cheeses. The This cheese has a strong history and has been made the same way for over 2000 years. Why change a good thing? $17.99/lb
We moved on to tasting a cheese called Boerenkaas from the Netherlands. This cheese is hard ripened & aged for 3 years and it has an incredible development of flavor on the palate. It starts out with milky tastes and builds to a mildly sweet finish a hint of caramel. It’s a tad darker than the cheeses previous and apparently the golden color is due to the aging.
On to one of my favorite cheeses, the Manchego. Manchego cheese is from unpasteurized sheep’s milk in the La Mancha region of Spain. Manchego is aged for 3 months or longer, and is a semi-firm cheese with a rich golden color and small holes. It ranges from mild to sharp, depending on how long it is aged. Manchego has gotten plenty of street credit lately, as it tends to be a little more mainstream and can be found in a lot of grocery stores and specialty cheese stores. The taste is fairly mild, yet hearty and has some nutty overtones.
Next up, The Chimay. Most of us have heard of Chimay Beer, especially since the Hudson Tavern started serving it as one of their beers on tap. But who knew the Trappist monks of Scourmont have been making Chimay cheese since 1876. Not only do they make beer and cheese, they use the beer to make the Chimay cheese. As I understand it, the rinds on cheese are usually made by washing the outside of the cheese with a brine solution. This cheese is made by washing the cheese with a (Chimay) beer solution. How bad can that be? The taste is beefy and substantial. It’s made from cows milk and has a substantial texture. Chung has it for sale at the store for $19.99/lb.
Finally the strongest cheese of the bunch, and my overall favorite, the Gorgonzola Dolce. I am a huge Gorgonzola fan to begin with and was very excited when Chung brought this one out. I tend to buy it in the grocery store and never really gave much thought to the process of how it’s made and the level of quality of the cheese. Boy did get some Gorgonzola education!
Gorgonzola is made from cow’s milk in Italy and is a milder version of the traditional Gorgonzola. A bit different than many blue cheeses, the rind of this cheese has some streaks of blue mold, but overall, there is very little evidence of mold common in many of the aged blue cheeses. It is also much milder and sweeter than other blue cheeses due to being ready when very young. The dolce is aged for a shorter amount of time giving it a sweet flavor, while the naturale is allowed to age for six months or more resulting in a strong, sharp flavor and aroma. I would have to say this cheese is an excellent cheese to serve as an appetizer, but even better when served as dessert with fruit. I also found out from Chung that Gorgonzola isn’t really Gorgonzola without the DOP after the name. This means it was certified by Italian Government and truly the only Gorgonzola cheese worth eating. Noted!
Why The Cheese Store?
Chung made a point of letting us know that the a big difference in the cheese he serves and the cheese that you can buy in ordinary grocery stores is the stabilizers. Most cheeses have stabilizers in them that make their shelf life longer. The downside is you can often taste these stabilizers. Chung sells/serves no cheese with stabilizers and the difference in taste is evident!
Check it out soon!
Mr. Park was intending on opening the store today, however, his wife gave birth to their son Ray over the weekend! Congratulations!
Because of his new arrival, he hopes to open his store this Thursday instead. So, cheese-lovers, you’ll have to wait until then!
Spoke with the owner last week, and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Permits are finally going well, and he hopes to be open in less than a month. He seemed very passionate about his love for various cheeses, and expects to use his many years in the industry to provide quality products to local residents.
The World’s Finest Cheeses coming soon to the Monroe Center for the Arts building.
Description – The cheese lover’s dream come true. Artisan cheeses from the world’s greatest farmhouse cheese makers. Many cheeses aged right in the store! Also, great charcuterie, condiments, coffees, bread, and sandwiches.
Address – 720 Monroe St. # E-103, Hoboken, NJ 07030
Website – www.thecheesestorehoboken.com
Telephone – 201-863-8162
Email – email@example.com