Today, I’m going to let you in on one of Vancouver’s great secrets: The Cheese Place (1976). It is absolutely the best place to buy cheese in Vancouver. One taste and you’ll forever swear off supermarket brand cheddar.
You won’t have high hopes when you first walk in the door. The Cheese Place is located in a corner of a small strip mall (Jericho Centre), above grocery and liquor stores. The small sign on the door notifies you that it is only open from 2:30-5:30 Wednesday to Saturdays. Yep, that’s right, 12 hours a week – so you kinda have to plan your week around a strip to The Cheese Shop.
When you first walk it, it doesn’t look any more promising. Although there is a cheese display case, it’s empty. Random signs litter the back of the little shop.
But then, a quirky little man with a big smile walks up to you and everything changes. He does something novel and asks you what kind of cheese you’re looking for (rather than just letting you guess, then ringing it up without a suggestion). Whatever you tell him – long or short on detail – he’ll come back with a response something like, “ah, I have something I’m sure you’ll like. Try this.”
He’ll go into his cooler and find the cheese in question and slice off a piece and give to you to try. He’ll probably give you a try of something similar as well, either stronger or milder, to make sure you have the one you want.
If it’s not what you’re looking for, he’ll break out a new one he thinks you might like. If it is what you’re looking for, he’ll break out a new one he thinks you might like – it’s very easy to buy way more cheese than you really need here.
Ignoring the glowing orange cheese you’ll find in a supermarket, there is actually good cheese to be found in Vancouver. Granville Island Market has some excellent shops, and cheese specialty shops litter the city. However, for diversity and quality, none of them compare to the Cheese Shop.
From seriously aged cheddar, to Gruyere to blue cheese, they have something of everything. And not just one type – they’ll have a selection of flavours and strengths so you can find the exact cheese you’re looking for.
We’d be amiss if we didn’t mention the prices. For cheese in Vancouver, you won’t find anything close to these prices. Most fall in the $30/kilo range – so not exactly cheap. However, if you think about the fact that you’ll pay more than $20/kilo for brand name cheap cheddar in a supermarket, it isn’t so bad.
Comparable cheeses at Granville Island Market, specialty cheese shops and supermarkets are around $50/kilo, so it really is a good deal.
Better quality, better service, better prices. It’s rare to find somewhere that does all three, but The Cheese Place comes through. You’ll get personally recommended cheeses at great prices. As a bonus, you’ll never have to ask for a sample – you won’t even be able to buy a cheese without being offered a taste first. That kind of service isn’t easy to find.
Due to their restricted hours, you may have to rearrange your day (or even week) to make it there, but trust me, it’s worth it.