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Vancouver's cheese shops offer a great selection of imported and local, artisan cheeses.
Oyama Sausage shows a loving, unpretentious approach to cheese
Recently, a bike ride to Cambie Street ended in the disappointing realisation that the Mount Pleasant Cheeseshop was no more (the closed doors and disconnected phone were big clues). As one does at times like this, I took stock of my life and my closest available cheese retailers so I could score some local artisan cheeses.
It seemed, as was the case in my search for fresh fish, that the answers centre round Granville Island and Vancouver West. That the gentrification fairies who waved their wands around Main Street and Commercial Drive were under the misconception that we could survive solely on coffees and pastries and neglected our Mozzarella munchies and Camembert cravings. Fortunately, the closing of the Mount Pleasant Cheeseshop drove me to find La Grotta del Formaggio.
The Benton brothers in Kerrisdale have a pretty knowledgeable team who are happy to talk to you about the cheeses. Their expertise and the ability to sample cheeses means I always walk away happy, and with more cheese than I thought I needed.
Perhaps the best-known cheese secret in Vancouver, Les amis de fromage have a great range of local and imported cheeses. I’m told they also have a shop in North Vancouver, but I’ve only ever been to their 3rd Ave store, near Granville Island.
Although it’s official name is Oyama Sausage Company, I always think of Granville Public Market’s Oyama as a cheeseshop first, though their landjauger and poitrine fumée are big draw cards. Oyama stock some BC cheeses but also sell myriad Ontario and imported cheeses.
Sandwiched between an Italian baker and an Italian cafe, this Commercial Drive deli-cum-cheeseshop has a great variety of cheeses including, one of my local favourites, Harvest Moon from Poplar Grove on the Naramata Bench and Christi’s favourite, the french St. Agur blue.