Ok, let’s be honest: no one thinks Boston—and then thinks cheese. But fans of the fromage rejoice because Boston-by-cheese is totally a thing. Believe it or not, you can, quite literally, taste your way through Boston by sampling some of the best cheeses in the world, all lovingly selected and offered by local Boston cheese shops.
What’s more, most of these popular Boston hot spots offer much more than cheese, so show up curious, hungry, and thirsty. Tastings (both cheese and wine!), gourmet sandwiches, classes, jams, and jellies all vie for your attention as you browse the towering wheels and wedges for your new favorite gouda.
Tip: Check websites or call ahead as each shop has differing hours, payment options, and also special events (like tastings!) you may not want to miss.
Formaggio Kitchen (South End & Cambridge)
If there is such a thing as the “big cheese” of Boston cheese shops, it’s undoubtedly Formaggio Kitchen. Topping best-of lists for years and showing no signs of slowing down, Formaggio is a bit of a legend, and rightly so. The owners literally travel the world, meeting with farmers and cheesemongers, bringing back only the best to share with their loyal Boston fanbase.
Their fastidiously curated inventory boasts small production cheeses from tiny European villages and local New England farms alike. They even have their own cheese-aging cellar at their Cambridge location — and Julia Childs herself was reportedly a fan.
Fine-weather tip: For that livin-la-vida local experience, come hungry and get one of the South End location’s fabulous sandwiches (and perhaps a block of your new favorite cheese, because, well, of course), and enjoy it on a bench in nearby Peters Park.
Bacco’s Wine & Cheese (Back Bay)
Bacco’s Wine & Cheese in Boston’s swanky Back Bay neighborhood is a fresh and fragrant delight. With a focus on sourcing sustainably made products from artisanal producers, curious foodies can quiz the knowledgeable cheesemongers whilst munching samples and exploring the accompanying wines and gourmet groceries.
Customer experience is a priority here and endorsed by regulars. The owner, Bob Bacco, has even been known to mingle amongst the browsers, sharing suggestions and personal favorites. Ask one of the staff — or perhaps Bob himself — to help you curate a bespoke wine and cheese basket for yourself or a friend.
Bonus: Love supporting women makers? Bacco’s dedicates a page on its website specifically showcasing a selection of women-made cheeses they carry.
Eataly (Back Bay)
Want to pair your cheese with some air-conditioned, luxury retail therapy? Head to Eataly’s “Salumi & Formaggi” counter at Boston’s Prudential Center in the Back Bay. Yes, we hear you, Eataly is a large international chain, but boy does its Boston cheese counter bring the knowledge, flavor, and fun.
Be prepared for crowds: Eataly has something for everyone — and everyone is there. You also need a bit of tunnel vision if you want to make it to the cheese counter without eating all the chocolate, pizza, and pastries along the way.
But when you get there, it’s worth it. Big, beautiful display cases showcase a mouthwatering array of cheeses from all over the world as well as locally sourced. Keep an eye on the wine shop next to the cheesemongers as they often have little wine tastings going on. What better way to wash down that cheese?
American Provisions (South Boston and Dorchester)
Enjoy touring Boston by following the cheese? Knock two more beloved Boston neighborhoods off your must-see list by visiting both the South Boston (“Southie” to the locals) and Dorchester (“Dot”) outposts of American Provisions.
On a mission to strengthen community through food, American Provisions carefully hand-selects a variety of local and international cheeses for its two shops, placing animal welfare as a top priority.
Overwhelmed by all the choices, and want to take everything in the shop home with you? You’re not alone. It’s pricey, but you could consider investing $80 in “The Cheese Lover” gift box. Filled with their finest selections of cow, goat, sheep, and blue, as well as the perfect accompaniments, it’s a perfect solution for those who just can’t decide.
Bricco Salumeria (North End)
Looking for quaint Boston cheese shop perfection? Bricco Salumeria is hidden away down a little old-world North End alleyway — you gotta know it’s there to find it. And that’s just how the locals like it. (Warning: Don’t get confused by its similarly named sister restaurant on bustling Hanover Street).
A man named Joe, who grew up in Italy, has been making the fresh mozzarella cheese by hand at Bricco for years. Of course, you’ll need something (or many things) to go with your handmade mozzarella, so save some dollars in your wallet and some room in your waistband to try their handmade pasta and fresh bakery bread.
Fine weather tip: Grab a friend (because portions are large, people) and Bricco’s signature Panino sandwich (featuring their handmade mozzarella) and head to the nearby Rose Kennedy Greenway for a little al fresco dining.
Curds & Co. (Brookline & Haymarket)
Curds & Co. prides itself on providing a non-intimidating and fun cheese shop experience. The dedicated owners work and travel long and hard to source the best cheese from around the world. But the company’s mission is to present the cheese — and all the fabulous things that go with cheese (um, wine anyone?) — to their loyal community in a fun-loving and approachable way.
You can also check out Curds & Co.’s latest venture, Boards & Co. Here you can find your own unique “cheese board personality” and the owners share their international cheese-scouting trips via YouTube.
Harry’s Cheese and Cold Cuts (Haymarket)
A tad off-the-beaten-path and with an unassuming storefront, you’d probably miss Harry’s Cheese and Cold Cuts (98 Blackstone St.) if you didn’t know about it or weren’t looking for it. But don’t let its modest shop front fool you. Harry’s top notch cheeses at reachable prices have been collecting shout-outs and praise from longtime loyal locals and return-visitors for decades.
Roy (Harry’s son-in-law) runs the shop now and still focuses on finding the best cheese for the best price from both home and abroad. Some past curious foodie finds at Harry’s include lavender-rosemary gouda and Guinness cheddar.
But plan your visit! These days, you’ll only catch Harry’s open on Fridays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Kured (Beacon Hill)
A relatively new kid on the Boston cheese block, Kured in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, offers a unique “charcuterie made easy” experience that locals and visitors alike are coming to love. Why just have cheese when you can have cheese and everything that goes perfectly with it?
Opened in June 2021 by enterprising recent Boston College grad Gilli Rozynek, this inspiring business grew directly out of Gilli’s own experience living in Spain. Gilli loved how people seemed to truly connect over the simplest things (i.e., meat, cheese, and conversation). And thus, Kured was born.
Perhaps one of the coolest aspects of Kured is its awesome, forward-thinking, “collab culture” approach. Through its unique artist-partnering program, artists can apply to showcase their work in Kured’s prime Beacon Hill shop space. But that’s not all: Kured artists can earn royalties by developing their own limited edition charcuterie box to be sold at Kured for the length of their installation.