comScore

Best of

the Twin Cities

Best Cheese Shop

France 44

Benjamin Roberts, the man in charge of the cheese shop at France 44 (it replaced the former restaurant about a year ago) so abhors the product-mishandling he's witnessed at upscale grocers—fragile, living, breathing cheeses tightly wrapped in plastic instead of a porous cheese paper—he's penned several "cheese abuse" diatribes on his blog (france44.blogspot.com, and he Twitters, too). While some might find this a little extreme, we love a specialty-shop personality who's especially persnickety, but not at all snobbish, about his wares. Roberts brings in a lot of his cheeses direct from producers and cuts them to order, so when you're buying a special cheese—the Hook's seven-year cheddar you already love, or the French Massipou that Roberts knows you will—it'll be in top condition. And if you're having trouble making a decision, he'll happily help you sample a few picks from the case. Roberts also sells the city's best selection of domestic bean-to-bar artisan chocolate (Rogue, Patric, Amano, Theo, Mast Brothers) along with a slew of other gourmet goods, from Paradise Roasters coffee to La Quercia prosciutto, along with house-made refrigerated and frozen deli items and (our fave) a big glass jar of duck confit. If you want to indulge in your purchases right at the shop, take a seat at one of the tables and the staff will bring out platters and stemware and serve it to you.

BEST CHEESE SHOP (2010) France 44

BEST WINE SHOP (2010) France 44

BEST WINE STORE (2008) France 44

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