- Saxelby Cheesemongers
Essex Street Market, 120 Essex St.; 212-228-8204
There are bigger stores with more- comprehensive selections, certainly, but no one has done more for the burgeoning American cheese industry than Anne Saxelby. After a two-year stint at Murray’s, an apprenticeship at Connecticut’s Cato Corner Farms, and a six-month finishing-school tour of the cheese shops and cheese- makers of Europe, she opened her own stall at Essex Street Market, where she’s become the de facto lacto lady of the Lower East Side. A shining testament to just how far we’ve come from the “pasteurized prepared cheese product” that is the Kraft Single, Saxelby focuses exclusively (well, with the sole exception of the peerless Parmigiano-Reggiano) on domestics, and staunchly supports local and sustainable agriculture by sourcing the bulk of her inventory from some of the best New York and New England farmsteads you’ve never heard of (Thistle Hill Farm Tarentaise, anyone?). Saxelby stocks not only cheese but sublime milk, butter, and yogurts. She’s big on samples, eternally patient, and she’ll even make you a cheese sandwich to go.