From Brie to Gouda to Manchego, it’s hard to find a food that’s as appreciated across the globe as cheese is. In the US, customers are slowly coming to the realization that there’s more to cheese platters than Munster, Swiss and Cheddar. There’s no better illustration of the nearly endless varieties of cheese than at Cheese…Please! in Cranford.
Maria Tisdall, the owner of Cheese…Please! came to her love of cheese accidentally when she was hired to run a supermarket artisanal cheese counter. Though she had trained as a chef, her knowledge of cheese was lacking and she began to immerse herself, learning as much as she could. As Maria’s knowledge grew, so did her love of cheese, and when the chance came to open her own business, Cheese…Please! was born.
Cheese…Please! opened in 2010 and currently carries over 100 cheeses. Nearly half of the cheeses rotate in and out, giving customers a chance to try something different each time they visit. Any customers who are overwhelmed by the choices can put themselves in Maria’s hands, secure in the knowledge that she’ll do her best to provide them with varieties they’ll enjoy. People are encouraged to bring a bottle of wine which they can pair with a cheese plate or one of the shop’s sandwiches. The store also offers more than just cheese, with English and Irish groceries lining the shelves, along with fresh-baked bread from neighboring Breadsmith.
Maria is always looking for ways to educate her customers and has offered a number of classes. Cheese and Wine 101 was extremely well-received, and classes covering both Spanish and French cheeses are on the horizon. One of the most successful events at the shop was a cheese making class where customers made their own mozzarella and ricotta.
The desire of customers to support a local shop selling quality products was evident last holiday season with lines stretching throughout the store. If you find yourself in the neighborhood stop by and pick up a cheese platter that will undoubtedly get everyone talking. When they’re not busy eating cheese, of course.
Michelle Stavrou, Union County Regional Editor, has hop-scotched across the Garden State, growing up in Bergen County, then moving to Hoboken (after a stop over in Queens) before finally settling in Cranford. After too many years stuck in tiny kitchens Michelle finally has a kitchen that can accommodate multiple batches of cookies. Her husband and her co-workers are probably even more thankful than she is. Michelle’s baking adventures are documented here: http://jerseygirleats.blogspot.com/.