When the occasion merits, you just might want to swap ho-hum factory-produced cheeses from your local chain supermarket for handmade artisanal cheeses from around the world. But finding shops that specialize in gourmet cheeses is not always as easy as it sounds. Luckily for residents of the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia has some of the country’s best, offering the creme de la creme of cheeses.
Di Bruno Bros.
1730 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 665-9220

Di Bruno Bros. has been a Philadelphia culinary institution since 1939. The brothers know Italian food, and they know cheese. In 2004, the business added a third retail location in historic Rittenhouse Square, now a top destination for gourmet food lovers. The delightful shop has an Old World atmosphere with its brick tiled floors, antique light fixtures and glass refrigerated counters of the best cheeses available from around the globe. Besides an out-of-this-world cheese selection, it specializes in gourmet meats, coffees, pasta sauces, olive oils, vinegars and gift baskets, and an upscale upstairs cafe serves daily lunches and weekend brunches.

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Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop
8509 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
(215) 242-2211

In business for almost 45 years, the Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop offers an expansive selection of domestic and imported cheeses. There’s everything from Asiago, an Italian delight made from whole cow’s milk, to tangy Teleme from California to be found in this ambrosial food boutique. In addition to choice chunks of delectable cheeses, the store stocks fresh caviar, premium coffees, delicious jams and marmalades, bottles of imported vinegars and olive oils, boxes of scrumptious chocolates and more. Custom gift baskets are available, and if you visit, make sure to get your name added to the mailing list for the 411 on the store’s latest products and promotions.

The Cheese Company
217 Haverford Ave.
Narberth, PA 19072
(610) 667-3663

Back in 1976, Soheila Sobhani opened a revolutionary cheese store just eight miles from the heart of Philadelphia. While the aromatic shop may be small in square footage, it’s oversized when it comes to the vast selection of gourmet cheeses and specialty products on its shelves. For fromage aficionados who can’t imagine cheese without a crusty loaf of homemade bread, Sobhani delivers tons of crispy baguettes, bagels, brioche buns and French berry rolls. Alongside its wide array of baked goods, the shop is stocked with hundreds of items to compliment your cheese selection, including jams, coffees, wine vinegars, chocolates, crackers and homemade salads. On sunny days, patrons can enjoy a cheesy sandwich, scone or a cup of Joe outside on a wrought-iron table.

Cheese Etc. & Gourmet Gifts
686 Haddon Ave.
Collingswood, NJ 08108
(856) 858-1144

Cheese Etc. is a gourmet grocer and gift shop that specializes in personalized gifts for all tastes and budgets. Sure to meet all of your cheese needs, cheese lovers will especially adore Ken’s homemade cheese spreads, which change seasonally. Winter flavors include roasted red pepper, cranberry walnut and cheddar pistachio. And don’t miss out on the gourmet coffees, teas, chocolates, cookies, muffins and pet treats.

Downtown Cheese Shop
Reading Terminal Market
45 N. 12th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 351-7412

Downtown Cheese Shop in the Reading Terminal Market features hand-made, small-batch, artisanal cheeses and domestic and imported farm cheeses. It also stocks a delicious assortment of first-rate olives, crackers, vinegars and oils. Patrons are invited to taste test small samples of any of the cheeses, including cow, sheep and goat cheeses as well as Amish specialties. Owner Jack Morgan will cut chunks to order for your purchase. While picking up a domestic cheddar or imported brie for yourself, snap up some gift certificate for friends and family.

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Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.