Molto Formaggio was the first dedicated cheese shop to open in Dallas in the fall of 2008. Although the shop sells all kinds of cheese, the specialty is cheeses imported from Europe, such as Gubbeen, a rare washed-rind cheese from Ireland. They lead annual trips for customers to places like Croatia, where they're as likely to be checking out salt beds as cheeses. But they make it a tradition to attend the biannual International Cheese Festival in Piedmont, Italy. And ever since the Centennial liquor store shut down, Molto Formaggio is the go-to in Highland Park for wine, beer and spirits.
Cheese enthusiasts Rich and Karen Rogers opened Scardello – named for Rich's Italian grandfather – November 2008, giving the city a growing sense of cheesiness, in combination with the presence of Molto Formaggio. Although Scardello does sell some side items and a trinket or two, it’s really all about the cheese. These folks teach classes and make sandwiches, but everything revolves around the cheese. You can buy in portions as small as a slice, as opposed to the pre-packaged chunks sold at grocery stores; if a slice is how much you want, then so be it. Scardello brings in small-production, hard-to-get-cheeses, and the owners focus on domestic cheeses. More than half the case is domestic, and a large number of cheeses come from Texas.
This is a part of the Sigel’s liquor store chain, but it’s no ordinary liquor store. Here, Sigel’s is playing in the gourmet food shop world. It has a mini-cafe and deli counter with meats, cheeses and snacks, and it has renowned cheesemonger Theresa McGee, who oversees a wide selection of cheeses, especially around the holidays. She also offers special tasting events such as the “cheese and chocolate” pairing she co-hosted with Katherine Clapner, owner of Dude Sweet Chocolate. Sigel’s is probably best known for its acquisition of Parmesan rounds, which are cracked open in the store with great fanfare.
Supermarkets aren’t the best place to go for serious cheese nerds. The selection is shallow, and the choices rarely extend beyond your basic mozzarella and cheddar. But three Kroger stores in the Dallas area have something special: miniature outlets of Murray’s Cheese Shop, one of the oldest and best cheese shops in New York, with two locations in NYC (Greenwich Village and the Grand Central Terminal). In 2011, the two companies struck a deal to open cheese counters at a limited number of Kroger stores, including Mockingbird Station, Irving and Fort Worth. Recognizable by the red-and-gold banner, the counters have more than 100 cheeses, including a big assortment from Texas, plus cheese platters and cheese cut and crumbled for instant use.
Paula Lambert founded her artisanal cheese factory in Dallas in 1982, decades before “buying local” became a foodie mantra. She’s helped pioneer Dallas’ foodie scene and has generously encouraged other local cheesemakers and artisan food makers too. Her cheeses have won countless awards and are sold throughout the United States to restaurants, hotels and gourmet shops. You can also buy her cheeses at her factory shop in Deep Ellum, where she sells fresh mozzarella, cow’s milk and goat’s milk cheeses, low- and no-salt cheeses, cookbooks, and accessories. She offers a cheese of the month club and popular hands-on classes.