Best Of

Best Cheese Shop for the Discerning Palate With Ethical Inclinations


Vegan cheese has advanced leaps and bounds from its miserable waxy origins. Today the best ersatz cheeses are nut-based, and through the magic of cultured nuts and kelp, they really do achieve the particular umami quality of their animal-milk predecessors. While quite a few brands of super-fancy vegan cheeses are available in the U.S., Riverdel is the only place in the city where you can buy (nearly) all of them. The tiny Prospect Heights storefront also stocks local vegan chocolates and baked goods, plus it hosts a wee deli counter, but the clear standout is its cheese selection. Try Cheezehound’s incredible Blue Mountain, a young cheese so creamy and ripe you’d swear you were eating brie, or Miyoko’s Kitchen’s semi-hard Aged English Smoked Farmhouse round, a tangy, smoky wonder that you should definitely put on (and inside of) pastas, if you can keep yourself from devouring it in one go. Riverdel also makes its own cheese line, called Billy, which comes in soft, sliceable logs priced slightly lower than the outside brands; smoked Billy is superb on sandwiches. If you’re not yet convinced that cultured cashew cheese is in your future, pop into Riverdel and ask for a sample. If there isn’t already a cheesemaker on hand to discuss their latest creations, the staff will happily open a package for you. Meave Gallagher

820 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn