If a fine cheese matures with age, then the two-year-old Cheese Store in Hoboken is mature and ready to enjoy.
Located in the Monroe Center, 720 Monroe St. in Hoboken, the store offers some of the finest imported cheeses from around the world. It also offers a selection of cured meats, as well as some understated sandwiches like French brie and natural-roast turkey with Dijon mustard on a baguette.
“I’m in the business of making people happy,” said owner Chung Park. “And when people have access to new tastes and flavors, new worlds open up to them.”
Park opened the establishment in July of 2007 with over 16 years in the cheese industry. He had worked for a number of well-known distributors. He even apprenticed on a farm in Jeffersonville, N.Y., where he helped make pure goat’s milk cheese.
“Cheese stores are becoming very popular,” Park said. “I found myself constantly giving advice to owners, and eventually just decided to open up my own store. There’s nothing like being your own boss.”
Park said that Hoboken was the perfect fit for a quality cheese store.
“I chose Hoboken because of the education level of the residents,” Park said. “To appreciate cheeses takes a little bit of understanding and a willingness to try new things.”
Park said that more than 50 percent of Hoboken residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
More than cheese and crackers
To further educate the masses, Park offers cheese tastings every month, where customers sample new cheese, bring wine, and socialize with friends. This month’s tasting called “Cheese Basics” hit on the four fundamental cheese groups: soft- and hard-ripened, wash rind, and blue cheese.
“People that think they don’t like blue cheese,” Park said, “just haven’t tried the right one.”
“Nothing is Boar’s Head here.” – Chung Park
With eight different cheeses to sample at the tastings, many people bring home their leftover samples to share with family and friends.
“You’re not supposed to eat it all at once,” Park said, “but people do.”
“It’s a common misconception that cheese is bad for you,” said store assistant Cristina Halpern. “Without all of the additives that are in other cheeses, cheese can actually be really healthy.” In addition to calcium and cultures that help digestion, Park said that cheese has good cholesterol and vital omega-3 proteins.
Melt in your mouth
The store has a charcuterie – French for the preparation of cured meats – where they offer proscuitto di Parma, sopressata, bresaola, and pate Campagne. Park insists on the “rotunda” shape of the proscuitto that is more circular, not pressed like other cured hams. The prosciutto was so subtle and delicate that the meat actually melted in the mouth, and didn’t have to be chewed.
“Every ingredient we use at the store costs twice as much as other shops,” Park said. “Nothing is Boar’s Head here.”
For more information on the Cheese Store, 720 Monroe St. in Hoboken, visit www.thecheesestorehoboken.com, or call (201) 683-8162.
The Cheese Store, 720 Monroe St. in Hoboken, is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sean Allocca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org