By Rick Gion
As someone who’s written a lot of feature stories and press releases, it’s tempting to write something cheesy as a lead for this month’s column. But, instead, this column will actually feature cheese and many of the dairy distributors you need to know about in the area.
If you’re interested in exploring the maturing dairy options here in Fargo-Moorhead, there are four locally owned mongers you definitely need to be familiar with.
Known as Fargo’s downtown delicatessen, Bernbaum’s features a charcuterie and cheese case. It’s basically right in front of you when you walk in the restaurant and up to the counter.
Bernbaum’s sells cheeses primarily from Redhead Creamery, which makes their products on a farm southwest of Sauk Centre, Minn. This cheese is definitely special, because Redhead uses fresh milk that’s direct from cows on their farm. It’s truly farm to table. Redhead has a unique story, and I’d suggest taking a look at their website. You’ll also notice they’ve won numerous awards for their products.
Anyway, check out the cheese case at Bernbaum’s next time you’re in there for some babka or a bagel. They don’t have the extensive offerings of other establishments, but their featured products are of high quality.
Creative Kitchen has the most-recently constructed cheese case in the area. It makes good sense for them to do so, because they sell all sorts of cheese accessories, cutting boards and fruit jams. They’re also located in the area’s most-popular shopping center, the omnipresent West Acres.
You’ll find some tasty products in the cheese case at Creative Kitchen. It’s packed full of high-quality items such as flavored chevre, French triple-cream softs, truffle gouda, and Parmigiano Reggiano. You’ll also find the good creme fraiche that Prairie Roots Food Co-op used to carry.
If you’re interested in artisan cheese, a visit to Creative Kitchen is a must.
Some say the moon is made out of cheese. At Luna Fargo on south University, much of their business is built on cheese.
Luna’s cheese case is the largest in the area. It is impressive. There are a couple dozen varieties you’ll find such as aged goudas, artisan cheddars, French softs, and smoked blue. They also feature many charcuterie items from Red Table Meat Co., an artisan salami slinger in northeast Minneapolis. Red Table makes pro-level porcine products.
By the way, if you need a charcuterie and cheese platter made for the holidays, be sure to give Luna a call. They’ll be happy to custom-make one for you.
Perhaps the most creative cheese curator in the area is Milk Made. They are unique in that they don’t feature a physical location with a cheese case. For them, it’s custom catering and a portable food cart. Also, their cheese platters look like works of art. It’s serious eye candy.
You’ll sometimes see the mobile version of Milk Made at the popular Red River Market. Be sure to stop by and purchase one of their cheese cones. It will make for a scrumptious Saturday snack.
Milk Made will prepare custom cheese platters for your special event. They also offer occasional instructive cheese classes at local wineries.
Before I finish this column, I do need to mention the cheese selection at Costco. It’s vast. The prices are quite good as well. However, you’ll be forced to buy larger portions, whereas some of the local cheesemongers will cut you a smaller piece for your cheese board. If you’re a member of Costco, the cheese section should be a necessary stop. They also make convenient pre-made cheese platters.
Hopefully, this column will give good ideas on where to find some fun and unique specialty cheeses. Pro-tip: I’d start by buying a nice cheese board at Creative Kitchen and then shopping at the above-mentioned places to purchase some quality cheeses. You’ll be a hit at that upcoming holiday party. Dairy-free folks need not be invited.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Bernbaum’s is located at 402 N. Broadway in Fargo
Costco is located at 750 23rd Ave. E. in West Fargo
Creative Kitchen is located in West Acres Shopping Center
Luna Fargo is located at 1545 S. University Dr. in Fargo
Milk Made can be found online at milkmadecatering.com
Rick Gion administers a Facebook group page called “Fargo-Moorhead Eats” that’s dedicated to the area’s great cooks and cuisine. Check it out, join, and feel free to post items about your local culinary adventures and home cooking.
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