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Northern Michigan Restaurants: Find the North’s love of food expressed in a remarkable number of outstanding cheese shops. Consider this your sampler.
424 W Front St., Traverse City, 231.941.7651
Perfumed with olive barrels, arancini and air-cured salumi, Folgarelli’s is Traverse City’s Old World foodie emporium. En route to the cheese counter you’ll weave among bulk bins of polenta and triple zero flour, shelves filled with six incarnations of San Marzano tomatoes, paper-wrapped bundles of housemade fettucine and case stacks of Chianti to wash it down. Mother and son proprietors Donna Folgarelli and Darric Neuman dispense wine and food wisdoms, while patrons queue before the bank of deli cases stuffed with wheels of aged Parmigiano Reggiano or bricks of creamy Taleggio alongside pâtés and logs of marbled mortadella. Darric curates the cheese selection, usually offering close to 100 selections year round, ranging from seasonal Goudas to truffle-laced pecorinos and rich triple cream Bries. Behind the cheese, a shiny stainless steel slicer thrums nearly nonstop during the busy lunch hour, shaving pastrami, corned beef and capicola to be piled high on airy ciabatta loaves or grilled between thick-cut slices of rye bread.
10844 East Revold Road, Suttons Bay, 231.271.2600
Swiss-trained cheese gurus John and Ann Hoyt craft wheels of sublime, award-winning raclette in their creamery at Black Star Farms. Try their fromage blanc and herbed cheese spread as well.
509 West Front Street, Traverse City 231.946.3300
Burritt’s has a creative cheese case loaded with domestic and international selections to complement their expansive wine cellar. Check out the aged goudas, fresh goat cheeses and English stilton.