Calling all cheese aficionados (and, we’re not just talking about string cheese lovers)! For all of you cheese enthusiasts out there who are wondering where to indulge in a grown up activity while keeping kids entertained, try visiting one of L.A.’s cheese shops, where there’s no better way to engage all of the senses. During your visit, you’ll be greeted by a Cheese Monger who will help you navigate your way through cases of wonderful wedges and wheels, offer generous samples for you and the little ones to taste and tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the topic. While kids nosh on the samples and learn that there’s more to cheese than the string-cheese kind, parents can indulge in pairing their favorite wines with their favorite cheeses.

Wally’s Cheese Box
An offshoot of Wally’s Wines, which originally opened in 1969, Wally’s Cheese Shop is a non-descript hidden gem in Westwood that is as charming as its name. When you visit Wally’s Cheese Shop, you’ll meet Jenny Knotts, Wally’s Cheese Specialist. Jenny will personally assist you and your kids in exploring the shop and tell you about the fine cheeses that she selects from places such Bordeaux, France. Wally’s Cheese Box offers over 150 cheeses, specialty foods and a selection of fine wines – plenty for adults and kids to choose from. You can pop in on any Saturday for a cheese and specialty food tasting. Or, pick up a sandwich to go such as a Grilled Truffle Cheese on Brioche. And, make sure to try their rare, hard-to-find chocolates, a perfect cap to a cheese filled day.

Wally’s Cheese Box
2107 Westwood Boulevard
Los Angeles, Ca
310-475-0606
Online: wallywine.com

Artisan Cheese Gallery
Building Community by Feeding the Community is their credo, and feeding the community they do. This hipster, casual Studio City fromagerie boasts a relaxed vibe where adults can kick back with their kids and their dogs. Part cheese shop, part café, The Artisan Cheese Gallery proudly claims to set itself apart by offering cheeses that aren’t found anywhere else. They also offer items including oil, jams and spreads and specialty items such as Tony Packo’s Sweet Hot Pickles All the Way from Toledo and Brown Butter and Sea Salt Cookies. Their menu features cheese platters, sandwiches and salads. Adults can raise a toast to their kids with a glass of fine wine or gourmet beer while their kids raise their glass of Hot Lips Soda, Dad’s Root Beer or Dad’s Cream Soda. Cheers!

Artisan Cheese Gallery
12023 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, Ca
818-505-0207
Online: artisancheesegallery.com

Surfas
To restaurateurs, professional chefs and amateur cooks, Surfas is their Shangri-La. Set one foot in this restaurant supply, equipment and ingredient store and it’ll be yours too. Located in the heart of Culver City, over the past twenty years, Surfas has expanded from being a restaurant supply wholesaler with a tiny retail space to include a café and a huge selection of equipment and ingredients. This expansion has included an in-house cheese shop which Cheese Monger, David Rozansky, presides over. Having worked as a sommelier, a chef and on a dairy in Israel, David brings a wealth of knowledge to Surfas. David will greet you with a warm smile, have you laughing with him in a few minutes and will sample cheese right along with you and your kids. After visiting with David, be sure to explore the aisles of Surfas and check out things that your kids will love like sprinkles available in every color of the rainbow. Be sure to check out the event schedule for upcoming kid friendly cooking classes. And, on your way out, stop by the café to pick up a grilled cheese. With four varieties of cheese to choose from, you can’t go wrong.

8777 West Washington Boulevard
Culver City, Ca
310-559-4770
Online: surfaslosangeles.com

The Cheese Impresario
Barrie Lynn, The Cheese Impresario, is a columnist for The Beverly Hills Times who pens the monthly “Cheese Matters” column. Essentially, Barrie is an expert in all things cheese. Invite Barrie into your home for a private cheese tasting and she will entertain adults and kids, customizing any event and make it a memorable experience for all ages. Barrie will teach the adults how to pair the perfect cheese with Aquavit, rum, single malt Scotch Whiskey, Belgian beer and even coffee. Turning her attention to the kids, Barrie will not only educate them about cheese, she’ll lead them in making cheese sculptures such as cheese mice. By the end of her cheese demo, Barrie is sure to have you saying, “Cheese!”

Email: barrielynn@thecheeseimpressario.com

–Wanda Ahmadi

photo courtesy of Evan G via Yelp