BEST CHEESE SHOP - 2010
Sample a few of the France 44 Cheese Shop's wares and you'll understand why a wheel of the stuff might cost more than your car: One bite can have as much complexity as an entire meal. Take the Dutch L'Amuse, a two-year aged Gouda: It smells like a barn, tastes like a peat bog, and chews like a hanger steak. Or the Swiss aged Gruyère, imbedded with the captivating little micro-crunches caused by crystallized amino acids. There's nothing like 'em on mainstream supermarket shelves. But another reason to love France 44—as well as its sister St. Paul Cheese Shop—is its wide selection of other specialty foods. Pair your cheeses with baguettes, house-made chicken liver pâté, chutney, chocolate, or cornichons. Or have the cheesemonger make the collaboration for you by assembling one of their top-notch sandwiches, where cheeses are layered with salami, prosciutto, turkey, and more. The Minneapolis location also has the added bonus of its on-site liquor store, because man can't live on cheese alone—can he?