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{Get} 12 Great Ontario Cheese Shoppes

{Get} 12 Great Rural Ontario Cheese Shoppes

Images from Dags & Willow Fine Cheese and Gourmet Shop

12 Great Ontario Cheese Shoppes

Cheese is a staple in our house. We can’t help it! Everything really is better with cheese. And even more so if that cheese is made and/or purchased in rural Ontario. There’s something about knowing that Ontario cows and goats and sheep munched Ontario grass and hay and skilled artisans turned their milk into the delectable morsels that grace everything from sandwiches to pasta to charcuterie boards.

Ontario has a long dairy heritage, and with the artisan food movement at full steam, there is no better time to be a cheese-lover. Producers have been honing their craft, and there are many shining stars from rural Ontario to get excited about. Some of my favourites are Gunn’s Hill Cheese Oxford Harvest, Blyth Farm Cheese Blyth Cumin goat gouda, and Woolwich Dairy’s Goat Brie.

If you’re a cheese lover like me, you’ll get excited about this list. Not one, not two, but 12 great Ontario cheese shoppes (in no particular order)!

1. The Milky Whey Fine Cheese Shop118 Ontario Street, Stratford

This boutique cheese shop features local, Canadian artisanal and European selections. Find a great selection of cheeses, crackers, chutneys, and other tasty charcuterie accoutrements. Planning a party? The staff at The Milky Whey will help you put together a tasting platter with a variety of cheeses for your guests. Or, get a made-to-order picnic lunch perfect for taking a break on the banks of the Avon River!

2. Jennard Cheese  — 424 Main Street, Exeter

This shop got its start with an identified need for higher-quality fundraisers in the area. Since then, owners Rick and Jennifer have brought excellent Canadian and European cheeses to South Huron, specializing in cheese trays for every occasion and featuring lots of other great Ontario products: local honey, maple syrup, and Coastal Coffee, to name a few.  Now, they’ve branched out even further to include lunch items. Go for the cheese and stay for a sandwich or bowl of soup!

3. Dairy Capital Cheese Shoppe  — 474 Dundas Street, Woodstock

The Dairy Capital Cheese Shoppe is a prime spot to pick up some of Oxford County’s award-winning Gunn’s Hill Cheese, as well as stocking up on sauces, dips, chocolates, kitchen gadgets, and much more. While you’re at it, enjoy the freshly-prepared sandwiches, salads, and other dishes at this popular lunch spot located conveniently in downtown Woodstock. Enjoy your cheese or lunch on the patio, with a view of the fountain in Market Square and the Woodstock Museum. It’s also a stop on the Oxford County Cheese Trail!

4. The Cheese Store  — 510 Michigan Avenue, Point Edward

Your local destination for an impressive array of cheeses, but not only that! Join professional chefs at themed “Chef Series” events, such as “Mexican Street Food,” and interactive dinners where attendees participate to make their own food, such as gluten-free and Paleo dishes.

The Cheese Store will also hook you up with a well planned cheese platter or basket for any kind of event – let them know who or what you’re shopping for and they’ll lend their expertise.

5. The Mill Street Cheese Market  — 96 Mill Street, Georgetown

This quaint shop features local and international cheeses, cured meats, and lots of other specialty food items, many of them made in Ontario! Known for their well-curated collection of the best crackers, delicious tastes to complement every type of cheese (jellies, chutneys, etc.), and an excellent selection of cheese-serving accoutrements, stopping into this shop can’t possibly disappoint.

Plus, you can sign up for the Mill Street Cheese Club and get three different cheeses, a tasting card with notes about each cheese and some pairing suggestions, and a jelly or chutney to complement the cheeses. Attention, anyone gifting to me this year: one for me, please! Call (905) 873-6000 to get in on the fun.

6. La Jolie Cheese Shop  — 9-2 Orchard Heights Boulevard, Aurora

At La Jolie Cheese Shop, the love of cheese goes beyond just eating it – it becomes about its history and heritage. You are invited to consider the character of each cheese and carefully make an informed selection. Choose from many cheeses from Canada, several countries in Europe, and beyond. You’ll find Halloumi from Cyprus, Feta from Greece, and Gjetost from Norway, alongside 14 of Canada’s shining cheese stars.

Spoil your guests by ordering a platter of the finest international cheeses, accompanied by Ontario-made jams and nuts and delicious crackers.

7. Mildmay Cheese Haus  — Hwy. 9, Mildmay & 522 Goderich Street, Port Elgin

One of the most established cheese shops in the bunch, the Mildmay Cheese Haus opened its doors in 1972, in a building that had been a creamery for decades. Boasting over 200 varieties of cheese, this shop aims to stock something that will please every kind of cheese lover. And, you can always try before you buy! Any shop that lets me taste the wares is a very tempting shop indeed.

Go for the cheese and go home with a bag full of novelty food items, such as local maple syrup, gourmet fudge, Greaves Jam, Wellesley Apple Butter, and many others.

8. The Dover Cheese Shop  — 318-A Main Street, Port Dover

The staff at The Dover Cheese Shop are committed to taking the mystery (and fear) out of the realm of cheese tasting and purchasing: “Our mission is to provide Port Dover with a fun and comfortable neighbourhood cheese shop,” says owner Jenny Ball. A daily changing selection of approximately 40 cheeses will tempt you with some of the best tastes of Canada, the US, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Scotland. Complement your cheese purchase with handcrafted cheese boards, cheese knives, and fondue sets.

9. Towne and Country Cheese Shoppe117 Queen Street East, St. Marys

With a dizzying array of cheeses from over a dozen countries, there’s no way you won’t find something you love at this shop. Choose from almost 30 varieties of Canadian cheddar, Finnish Lappi, Danish Blue, German Limburger, all the best English cheeses, Italian gorgonzola, Irish Dubliner, Norwegian Jarlsberg, and many more!

10. The Cheese Gallery  — 11 Bruce Street South, Thornbury

This shop is all about artisans: it features artisanal cheeses, local food producers, and the work of local artists. You’ll also find locally roasted coffee, and a wide variety of teas, which you can sit and sip in the cozy seating areas. Another thing that really sets this shop apart is that you can have wine with your cheese! A fully licensed establishment, you can taste your cheesy morsel along with a sip of wine from a nearby winery.

11. Dags and Willow Fine Cheese and Gourmet Shop  — 25 Second Street, Collingwood

The mouth watering catering menu sets this shop apart! Several of the many, many dishes listed feature cheese (as you might expect). I’m not sure how I would decide between the pulled beef wrap with horseradish, mushrooms, and blue cheese or the Down Home mac ‘n’ cheese with 6-year-old cheddar! You could also stop in to pick up lunch items freshly-made by the in-house chefs.

Dags and Willow, housed in an award-winning commercially restored heritage building (check out the pictures of the restoration process on their Facebook page), sells over 150 varieties of cheese, many of them proudly artisanal.

12. Cheese Secrets — 38 Market Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake

A boutique cheese experience, this shop is passionate about the 100+ varieties it offers. Get these cheeses served up on spectacular made-to-order charcuterie platters for a party, and get everything else you’d need to host an unforgettable gathering. You might  want to their “almost famous” Garlicky Asiago Cheese Spread at your next event! Or maybe keep it just for yourself, so you don’t have to share.

Discover some other great NOTL spots in our post, {Try} A Cozy Day in Niagara-on-the-Lake This Winter.

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Know of another great cheese shop in rural Ontario? Leave a comment to let us know!