Photo by Sarah Kuta

Longmont’s Cheese Importers is a Local Treasure

Facebook

 

My culinary-obsessed friend group has themed get-togethers every month or so. There’s pesto parties and soup parties; cocktail nights and boozy brunches. But there’s always an award component to these gatherings—and I think I’ve found the ultimate cheat code to building the first-place charcuterie board for our next night in.

 

Enter: Cheese Importers in Longmont, where there’s a fromage cave stocked with 400 to 600 cheeses from around the state, country, and world, complete with staff picks and descriptions to help you narrow down your finds.

 

Cheese Importers got its start in 1976 when Lyman and Linda White sourced a half dozen cheese varieties from Wisconsin that they drove around in a VW bus, delivering to local stores and restaurants. Linda White’s uncle was the first cheese importer in the U.S., and that connection, plus a love for healthy food, inspired the Boulder County couple to bring great finds to Colorado when most cheeses in this region were processed and pasteurized, says Clara Natasha White, the daughter of the founders and the current owner of Cheese Importers.

 

“From there, the shop developed organically based on customer requests to find products they had enjoyed in other parts of the country and world and wanted to bring to Colorado,” White says. “So many products just weren’t in this part of the world yet.”

 

Photo by Sarah Kuta

Colorado Cheese Connections

 

The Colorado cheese scene has come a long way in the past 40 years. In addition to cheese from around the world, Cheese Importers stocks lots of local products.

 

Currently, there’s about 20 Colorado cheeses. On the local roster is Colorado Farmhouse Cheese Company, which is making alpine cheeses similar to gruyere, as well as gouda, a sharp cheddar, and Garrotxa, which is made from goat’s milk that gives it a nutty, fruitful flavor. Moon Hill Dairy in Steamboat Springs, which makes a camembert-style Alpenbert and alpine-style feta, is another Cheese Importer supplier.

 

The Longmont cheese shop also stocks other Colorado products to help build out the cheese board of your dreams, like sourdough crackers from Full Stop. Bakery in Boulder, Primo preserves like peach and chimayo, Mountain Girl pickles and more.

 

Over at Cheese Importer’s wholesale warehouse, there’s roughly 700 cheeses at all times, and the company supplies restaurants and stores throughout Colorado with cheese.

 

Cheese Importers also works with Spade & Spoon, a local Front Range meal delivery service, supplying cheeses for recipes. There’s a production room in the warehouse where the team can cut and wrap cheeses with any portion sizes for the meal kits, says Robby Rosenberg, Sales Manager at Cheese Importers Gourmet Warehouse. The warehouse provides cheeses from James Ranch in Durango as well as Colorado Farmhouse Cheese Company.

 

Photo courtesy of Cheese Importers

Nibble on Cheeses from Around the World

 

On my most recent visit (swaddled in a sweatshirt because the cave is cool!) I perused asadero cheese from Mexico, Noord Hallnder cheese, with tiny salt crystals, from the Netherlands, and smoked pepper jack from Wisconsin.

 

Some of the most unique cheeses in the cave, White says, include the OG Krystal, a Belgium-aged Gouda and Mahón, a cow’s milk cheese which is native to Menorca, a small Balearic island east of mainland Spain. There’s also Negroni Blue from Italy, which is bathed in the spirits of the Negroni and has candied oranges on top.

 

I brought home a beautiful Alp Blossom cheese covered in petal blossoms and a rectangular slab of Juustoleipä, which is slightly sweet and nicknamed “bread cheese” (it looks a bit like pizza) that I popped in the air fryer, transforming it to a melty cheese stick.

 

I also got my hands on a triangle of Parmesan, using the rind to give a nutty oomph to my homemade Minestrone soup and some European butter (it’s très bien) to slather on a warm, chewy loaf of French bread.

 

Several of the Cheese Importers team members are well-educated cheesemongers who can help you find the just-right cheese. But for winter, White says, favorites include aged gouda styles, as well as bubbling hot fondue and raclette, a Swiss cheese that’s heated and scraped on to accouterments like potatoes or bread. The shop has fondue pots and sets, too.

 

“Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and to have time to enjoy wonderful foods and products with those you love is simply solid nourishment for the heart and soul,” White says.

 

Photo courtesy of Cheese Importers

Beyond the Cheese

 

Located in Longmont’s first electrical power plant building, Cheese Importers is a spacious shop and  a great spot to shop for unique gifts. The shop curates items from all around the world, including pottery, books, art, glassware, cookware, authentic linens from Provence, France, as well as European soaps and perfumes.

 

There’s crepe mixes and escargot croquilles (French pastry bites), and cocktail books inspired by the “Great Gatsby” and absinthe fountains.

 

On the second floor, there’s a cute shop with children’s gifts as well as unique wrapping papers.

 

In 2024, Cheese Importers is looking to integrate more classes on cheese, as well as olive oil and chocolate, says White. You can also find books throughout the store to help you get started with a cheesemaking hobby.

 

Photo courtesy of Cheese Importers

 

Looking to pair some wine and cheese at your next gathering? Here are some go-to combos, according to Cheese Importers

  • Champagne: Try a triple crème, such as Brillat Savarin or Deluxe de Bourgogne
  • Sauvignon Blanc: Pair with a rich, nutty Ossau-Iraty or Abbey de Belloc, a sheep’s milk from France’s Basque region.
  • Rioja: This Spanish variety is a very cheese-friendly wine. Serve it with Spanish sheep cheeses such as Manchego, Zamorano and Ibores or Garrotxa (goats milk) and Mahon (cow)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Farmhouse-style cheddars and fully mature cheddars are a perfect match. Opt for something such as Cabot or a Challerhocker from Switzerland.

 

 

Search

Recent Posts

Sponsored Business

Boulder, CO
73°
Sunny
6:24 am7:38 pm MDT
Feels like: 73°F
Wind: 7mph NNE
Humidity: 14%
Pressure: 29.75"Hg
UV index: 6
4 pm5 pm6 pm7 pm8 pm
73°F
73°F
72°F
68°F
64°F
SunMonTueWedThu
79°F / 45°F
72°F / 46°F
66°F / 45°F
70°F / 34°F
55°F / 34°F