There’s a strange, pungent odor wafting down Williamsburg’s main drag, Bedford. No, it’s not sun-baked urine, the crusty hippy busker or the college kids’ less-than-subtle marijuana intake. It’s coming from an Olde English-looking corner store – the Bedford Cheese Shop.
The Bedford Cheese Shop is an anomaly in the modern retail landscape, where shops close faster than a slice of pizza can be served. This is slow food at its best and it’s the culinary equivalent of those other hipster reinventions, like carrying around a gramophone or sitting in a café typing on an old Remington typewriter. It’s artisanal, farm-to-table cuisine for the foodie generation.
Entering the shop is punctuated by the ding of a bell, but it’s the odor that announces you’re here. Fermented curd of varying age will tickle and then bitch slap your olfactory organs, literally bringing a tear to the eye (either through joy or just the fact that you came a little too close). Stacked high in glass cabinets, hanging from hooks, on the rafters, there’s the United Nations of cheeses to be experienced and tasted. Gouda, Emmental, Brie, Wensleydale, Cheddar, Smoked Dutch, Swiss, Feta, Parmigiano, blue cheese – cheese that may or may not even be edible because it’s covered in such a thick mold colony. If you have a Wallace and Grommit level cheese addiction, this is your nirvana.
But the Bedford Cheese Shop is more than just a cheese shop. It’s a delicatessen. You can find duck eggs, quail eggs and Cadbury Crème Eggs. In fact it’s a popular place to pick up ex-pat Cadbury favorites like Boost Bars and Flakes – fast becoming black market fodder as Hershey seeks to stamp out authentic Cadbury in favor of its locally produced and far inferior swill.
For the sweet-toothed, there’s home made chocolates, digestive biscuits, authentic maple syrups and candies and cottage-style jams. For the savory lover, there’s a broad representation of sausages and salamis, hot sopressa and Hungarian chili cold cuts.
Take the time to visit Bedford Cheese Shop. Possibly on a day when your nose is blocked, though if you are a true foodie, you’ll enjoy every aroma, no matter what.
The Bedford Cheese Shop is a mecca for quality foodie ingredients.
265 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, NY
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