Adam Moskowitz is a third generation cheesemonger. His grandfather, Ben, started the cheese importing business selling dairy from a pushcart in the glory days of the Lower East Side. Two generations later, the family has expanded operations to become one of the largest cheese importing companies in the country.
Every type of cheese that comes in to this country from Europe is brought through the doors of Adam's Long Island City based company, Larkin. If you've toyed with the fantasy of traveling the world searching for exotic cheeses to import, The Big Cheese is the guy you want to talk to.
Rungis - “Rungis is a huge market in France where everybody goes and sells their products wholesale. If it isn't the biggest market in the world, it's close. This is the spot to find the most amazing cheeses.”
Jasper Hill - "Jasper Hill is an outfit located in New England that’s making a phenomenal collection of cheeses. Not only that, but they’re building a humungous aging facility that is literally going to blow people's minds. This is an American company who really gets it and they're really starting to pay homage to European cheese making traditions. They're at the forefront of making amazing American cheeses that will have the flavor profiles of the Europeans. They are sure to be part of the future of cheese."
Ihsan Gurdal - "Ihsan Gurdal is the owner of Formaggio Essex, Formaggio Kitchen and some other things. He's definitely amongst the elite in the cheese game at the retail level. He's a retailer pioneering the concept of the global village...or at least that's how I look at it."
Rob Kaufelt - "Rob is the legend behind the legend of Murray's. He's the face of the speciality food business. He's out there in Europe looking for unique cheeses and bringing them back here to the United States through my company, Larkin. He's up there in the cream of the crop, a real pimp or playa if you will."
Ari Weinzweig - "Ari is another mastermind. He runs Zingerman's out in Michigan and he's a prime example of a retailer understanding that he can import. So people like him go around Europe and find these unique third or fourth generation cheese makers or jam makers or mustard makers or whatever. They then hand them my card and 4 weeks later that crazy unique product is on the shelves."
Gramercy Tavern - "If you're looking for a great dining experience that knows cheese and knows them well, you want to hit up the Gramercy Tavern."
Babbo - "Babbo is another restaurant that's high up on my list as it pertains to knowing their cheeses."
Chanterelle - "Again, as it relates to knowing their cheeses, Chanterelle is still one of the best. Nobody's doing it as good as they do."
Marlow & Sons - "If you're in Williamsburg, you want to go to Marlow & Sons. This is a restaurant that understands the idea of knowing your source. They're buying products that are grown locally and serving it to you fresh. They even have a butcher on staff - ain't that crazy."
Serrano Ham - "Serrano is a dried cured ham similar to Prosciutto. The major difference is that Prosciutto is salted then covered in lard and fat and then cured, whereas Serrano is salted and simply hung. So the flavor profile of Serrano is way more unique and dynamic because it's exposed to natural air, so it takes on the flavor essence of the air around it. Also, Prosciutto is a regional product of Italy where as Serrano is a national product of Spain. You go to a good bar in Spain and they have tons of these legs of Serrano hanging from the ceiling and it's one guy's job to sit there all night and slice it...the funny thing is, that job is considered a good job. It's really respected."
Gourmino Gruyere - "We helped import this Gruyere from Switzerland and out of 1,900 other cheeses, it took first place in the Wisconsin Cheese Festival. It's delicious!"
L'Amuse - "There's a lot of excitement right now for this Gouda from Artisanal called L'Amuse. It's out of this world. It's aged 24 months and has those little flavor crystals that everyone goes nuts over. It tastes just like butterscotch. You've never had a Gouda like this in your life."
Murray's Cheese Shop - “If I were looking for a great cheese shop in New York, I would go to Murray's Cheese Shop on Bleeker Street in the Village. They’ve got the best. They’ve got cheese caves that will blow your mind. If you have time, take the tour. It's worth it.”
Formaggio Essex - "If you're downtown on the east side, I would say go to Formaggio Essex. This is a great place to go for some amazing European imports.”
Anne Saxelby Cheese - “Saxelby's Cheese is also in the Essex Street Food Market and they focus on really just American produced cheese so it's really cool to explore that angle."
Citarella - “Here’s yet another place in New York to go to buy some great cheese. This place has been around for decades and they really know what they're doing."
Bedford Cheese Shop - “The Bedford Cheese Shop out in Williamsburg is one of the best cheese shops in America. They know what they’re doing, they care for the product, and they only serve the best cheese."
Essex Street Food Market - "The Essex Street Food Market on the Lower East Side is a really cool, old school, traditional market. One of the great things about it is you can stop by Formaggio Essex and taste all the European Cheeses then walk over to Saxelby's and taste all the dope American cheeses."
BEYOND NEW YORK CITY
Zingerman's - "If you happen to be in Ann Arbor, Michigan, or if you want to shop on-line, head to Zingerman's. These guys really know their stuff."