Cheesemongers of Sherman Oaks
Whether you’re looking for classic cheddar, a farmhouse specialty, or something that’s been buried in a pit for months, the charming East Valley outpost will pair you with the perfect wedge. Come for the choice curds and the conversation with owners Chaz Christianson and Kia Burton. “Cheese is magical,” says Christianson.
Is that a cheese tattoo on your forearm?
Burton: Yes! It’s the stamp they brand onto a wheel of Parmigiana-Reggiano when it’s deemed worthy of the name. I got it when I left my teaching career, right after I got to crack open my first whole wheel of Parm. It was a moment of revelation.
Christianson: You are now worthy of the name “cheesemonger”!
What’s your favorite thing about cheese?
Burton: It’s made by real people, with their hands. Some of our producers are running Great-Grandma’s operation.
Christianson: Or little European dairies using the same recipe for centuries. Every time I unwrap an alpine cheese, I see the slopes from The Sound of Music.
What do most customers get wrong?
Burton: Not tasting something before you buy is a major mistake. Cheese changes every day, and even the best could be terrible if it hasn’t been cared for properly or it’s been sitting too long. Also, plastic-wrapped cheese is bad, bad, bad. Precut? Even worse! Everything should be cut to order and wrapped in paper.
Let’s role-play: “I love Kraft Singles…”
Christianson: I’d give you a taste of a mild cow’s milk cheese. Is this too strong? Too firm? Then we’ll move in that direction. I’d embrace the newness rather than alienate you for it. I want everyone to have that moment when they realize, “My God, this is the coolest stuff in the world.”