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The Cheese Culture opened on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale this past August once owner Susan Phipps was inspired by a shop in Atlanta. "Cheese was stacked from floor to ceiling," she says. "My jaw dropped. I couldn't speak for several minutes."
To school herself, Phipps trekked to the Cheese School of San Francisco for boot camp. She also sent an email to Steve Jenkins, AKA "The King of Cheese" and architect for the cheese section in New York's Fairway Market, who hooked her up with David Grotenstein, a cheese consultant who sits on the board of the American Cheese Society. He helped her build upon her knowledge and stock the store.
Since the opening, business has been brisk, says manager Chris O'Toole. He recommends five of the shop's best-selling cheeses:
1) The Two-Year Gouda
A Dutch cheese made from cow's milk, this naturally aged cheese displays nut and caramel notes. $27.99 per pound
2) Cheve Affinee Goat's Milk Gouda
This Dutch cheese isn't as tangy as a traditional goat's milk cheese, featuring a sweeter flavor and more firm texture. $24.99 per pound
3) St. Angel French Triple Cream Brie
From the Rhone Alps in France, this creamy decadent cheese "is like glorified butter." $17.99 per pound
4) Pecorino Tartufo
A Tuscan sheep's milk cheese is earthy and aromatic, infused with black truffles. "We can't keep a wheel in stock." $38.99 per pound
5) Gabriel Roquefort
This French raw sheep's milk cheese is zesty and creamy with a hint of minerality. It's creamy but still crumbles. "It's as refined as it gets for a blue cheese." $34.99 per pound
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