Cheese, glorious cheese! For hundreds of years, humans have been turning milk in to the miracle that is cheese. Dozens, if not hundreds of varieties have been developed over the years, each tastier than the last. Cheddar, mozzarella, stilton, the list goes on and on. Of course, everyone has their own preferences, but you’ll be hard pressed to find someone that just straight up doesn’t like cheese, especially from the places on this list. We aren’t talking about Kraft singles here. Oh, no no no! The cheese coming from the shops on this list are works of art, crafted by artisans, and you can taste the difference. Flavours are bolder than pretty much anything you’ll find in your average grocery store. Some of the places on this list make and sell their own cheese, while others sell a handful of curated brands that they know and trust, and some do both! Either way, the cheese on this list is premium stuff that you’ll be dying to get your hands on.
Just the name of All Bout Cheese tells you everything you need to know about this local cheese shop. Cheese? They’re all ‘bout it: selling it, eating it, loving it. The philosophy of All Bout Cheese has three pillars: Top quality products, affordable prices, and excellent customer service. It’s an easy philosophy to maintain when you’re as passionate about the product as Rick Peori and his team at All Bout Cheese. They specialize in local cheese, partnering with cheesemakers from London and the surrounding area, all of which are expert craftsmen, drawing on years and years of knowledge to make cheese that’s the best of the best. Ontario brands like Gunn’s Hill which are known for being one of the best in southwestern Ontario. They also import awesome brands from around the world, like Belton Farms, a British cheesemaker with unique, premium products that disappear almost as soon as they hit the shelves at All Bout Cheese. Since it’s uncommon to just eat a plate full of cheese on its own, All Bout Cheese also carries a variety of products to round out your spread. Sauces, jellies, crackers, olives, and even pate, are available, taking your platter to a whole new level. Unfortunately, the doors of their Old East Village storefront closed in May of 2018 due to extenuating circumstances. We were incredibly sad to see it happen, but thankfully they’re still at the Western Fair Farmer’s Market every weekend, offering their top notch products from their booth. Make your way out to the market and grab some of the best cheese you’ll ever find!
The life of the Smith Cheese owners, Glenda and Danielle Smith, are about as cheesy as can be, and not in the bad romantic comedy, their lives simply revolve around cheese! The two have been in the cheese-selling game for years, and their experience really shows. Their booth in the centre of the Covent Garden Market is one of the biggest in the building. Long rows of heavenly cheese and other accoutrements are ready and waiting for you to take them home. With over three hundred varieties of cheese available on site, if you’re looking for something rare or just want to try something new, there’s a good chance that Smith Cheese is the place to get it. Of course, if you aren’t sure about something, just go ahead and ask! Everyone that works in the booth is not only a cheese expert, they’re also incredibly friendly and excited to share. A shopper could easily get overwhelmed searching alone, but with the help of the staff, you’ll be back home and enjoying your newly purchased cheese in no time! Smith Cheese also offers a variety of olives (a classic combo with good cheese), sauces, and freshly made dips, including hummus, French onion, and of course queso. Recently, they’ve even added specialty vegan dips, made by the folks at V Food Spot, an awesome little vegan restaurant at the corner of Dundas and Clarence downtown. Smith Cheese makes exploring cheese a breeze. You can try new, exciting varieties whenever you visit them at the market!
Devizes Cheese Factory has a long history of making great cheese for the people of Ontario. The company started as Devizes Cheese & Butter in the small town of Prospect Hill in 1880. The factory relocated in the early 20th Century to a plot of land located at Highbury and 14 Mile Road just north of London, where it still operates today. In 1973, Devizes Cheese Factory was purchased by the Aldrich family, and it has been a family affair ever since. Three generations of Aldrichs have been involved in managing the cheese factory and retail shop, but the goal has always been the same: offering the best products to the local community. Alongside the cheese that they make, Devizes also offers cheese from both local artisans and international producers. There are an abundance of options: over a dozen varieties of cheddar, half a dozen goat cheeses, Havarti, gouda, feta, and the list goes on and on. Did we mention curds? Oh, they’ve got curds. Perfect for a homemade poutine or even a snack on your way home from the store. The retail store at the cheese factory is in the vein of a general store. In addition to their cheese, they offer meats, eggs, canned goods, baked goods, snacks, and pantry staples. You can find everything from apples (when they’re in season locally) to pepperettes to pastry flour. It’s a one stop shop for amazing, locally made goods. Devizes Cheese Factory may sit just outside London’s city limits, but the cheese is worth the trek out there. Delicious flavours await you.
Did you know that the city of Oxford County is the dairy capital of Canada? The county, which surrounds the city of Woodstock, leads Ontario in milk production, producing over 1 billion glasses of milk annually. With so much milk being produced, you can bet your bottom dollar that there’s some really good cheese being made with it. Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese is an award-winning cheesemaker that utilizes local milk and Swiss techniques to great effect. With two master cheesemakers and a team supporting them, they make some of Canada’s finest cheese. Gunn’s Hill offers over a dozen varieties of cheese that they make themselves by hand every day! Their two signatures are the 5 Brothers and Oxford’s Harvest, both of which are absolutely to die for. 5 Brothers is a cow’s milk cheese that combines the traits of gouda with another Swiss cheese called Appenzeller. After being aged on a cedar plank, the resulting cheese is robust, creamy, and rich with sweet overtones. The Oxford’s Harvest is another cheese that uses cow’s milk. This one is in the style of a little-known Swiss cheese called Mutchli. Mild and buttery, it melts like an absolute dream, but is also great eaten on its own. Other cheeses offered by Gunn’s Hill use sheep’s milk and even buffalo’s milk! The different types of milk give a unique flavour to the cheese. They’re definitely worth exploring if you’re in the mood for something different. You can get Gunn’s Hill directly from the producer at their storefront that’s just a five minute drive south of Woodstock, right off of the 401 and the 403. The store is open 9 to 5 every day except Sunday! If you call ahead, you can even get a tour of their factory (which includes a tasting of three cheeses). If you can’t make it out to the Woodstock area, Gunn’s Hill is carried in over three hundred retailers across Ontario, including the aforementioned All Bout Cheese, so find the one closest to you to pick up a brick of the good stuff!
Okay, so Stonetown Artisan Cheese isn’t exactly in London, but their cheese deserves to be featured regardless of city limits. Made over in St. Mary’s, Stonetown is a family affair and has been since day one. Stonetown takes “keep it local” to a whole new level! The milk they use for their cheese comes from the cows that share the property! The family operates a dairy farm with 250 holstein cows whose milk will eventually be Stonetown cheese, unpasteurized and with no additives. The Weber family came from Switzerland, where parents Hans and Jolanda worked in the Swiss Alps making cheese. They immigrated to Canada with their three children and founded Stonetown Artisan Cheese, continuing on in Swiss tradition using techniques and recipes that they learned in their homeland. Together with master Swiss cheesemaker Ramon Eberle, they create some truly stunning cheese. With fifteen varieties of cheese being made, there’s almost too many options to pick from. Grand Trunk, a Gruyere style cheese, is one of their most popular, both with the general population and in contests! Grand Trunk has won first place in multiple cheese competitions, including the 2016 and 2017 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and most recently, the 2018 British Empire Cheese Competition. That many expert judges and cheese aficionados can’t be wrong! Stonetown Cheese can be found all across Ontario in many locations, from small boutiques to large chains. Find out here where the closest location is to you, or head to their on-farm store and pick it up directly!
Whether you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, nothing should stop you from enjoying cheese. These couple of places have proven that great cheese doesn’t need to have dairy to be truly delicious. Utilizing incredible techniques, these folks transform various ingredients into a cheese product that will make your mouth water. Dietary restrictions shouldn’t stop you from experiencing the joy of cheese, and these places are making it possible!
Nuts for Cheese is a locally produced faux cheese product that has absolutely boomed in popularity. What started as a booth in the Western Fair Farmer’s Market has become a national brand and one of the most well-known vegan cheese alternatives in the country. Nuts for Cheese uses cashews and a fermentation process to create their convincingly cheesy product. Completely vegan, gluten free, and organic, Nuts for Cheese will leave you wondering why exactly you hadn’t tried it earlier. Those that are uninitiated in the world of vegan cheeses may take a step back and say “how convincing is it really?” Well it’s spreadable, shredable, and meltable just like any similar dairy-based cheese. It’s fermented like a dairy-based cheese, which allows flavour-boosting cultures to develop. There are definitely more similarities than there are differences! There are five varieties of cashew cheese up for grabs: Un-Brie-Lievable, Super “Blue,” Chipotle Cheddar, Red Rind, and Smoky Artichoke and Herb. Each flavour has been developed to perfectly balance sharpness, creaminess, and other added flavours that enhance the cheese. Nuts for Cheese is available across Ontario and Quebec in various retail stores, or if you’re a London local, you can go to the Western Fair Farmer’s Market to pick up a wedge of your favourite cashew cheese! Nuts for Cheese may not have dairy, but they’ve got just as much passion for cheese and awesome flavours. Whether you’re vegan or not, Nuts for Cheese is delicious!
Main Vegan Deli is proof that vegan food isn’t just raw veggies. They have taken the flavours and textures of meats and cheese that the world knows and craves, and removed any animal products from the equation! How, you may ask? Well that’s a trade secret, all we know is it’s amazingly delicious. Main Vegan Deli has ten types of cheese, each mimicking the flavour and texture of a dairy cheese with eerie similarity. Their chedd-ahh is a near perfect imitation of a medium cheddar, perfect for on a sandwich or melted on a burger. The no buffalo mozza melts and stretches just like the real thing, making it ideal for pizza, but it is also incredible cold, like in a caprese salad. You can buy Main Vegan Deli cheese straight from their deli in Glencoe, or from a number of retailers across Ontario. In London, your options are Curley Brewing Co and Naturally Vegan.