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DonRocks

Whole Foods Abuses Their Cheeses

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I began this topic on eGullet in 2004, but they changed the title (and perhaps merged it with some other posts), so here's a link to the original post, which still stands as being true to this day, 12 years later.

Yesterday, as I was buying lousy grapefruit, I stopped by the cheese counter, and bought a wedge of pre-cut, plastic-wrapped, 5-month-old Comté - I gave it a quick smell test, and it was fine. Today I opened it, and it had already started to mold - it was just a speck that I took right off, but it was still mold. I bought two tiny wedges of cheese, paying over $10 for the privilege, and both were firm, mountain tommes; I would *never* buy a soft, creamy cheese from them - never, ever - not unless I saw it being cut before my eyes.

I'll say it again, an older and a wiser man: Whole Foods abuses their cheeses.

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Anyone besides me sick-and-tired of overpaying for poorly kept cheeses? And I don't mean Whole Foods - in the past week, I've had really bad cheese at Organic Butcher (white cheddar with green mold which forced us to cut off nearly half the cheese) and Arrowine (Brie well-past its prime, which turned even further in 48 hours). If these weren't pushing $30 a pound, I might not complain so much, but the price of cheese at retail is criminal, and it's a minefield - hell, CostCo has a better track record of late than just about anywhere else.

I'm good friends with a cheese wholesaler, so I know full-well what a rip-off cheese is at retail. Unlike many other goods, with cheese, they nail you at the retail level.

Which retailer is willing to step up and aggressively guarantee their cheeses? This is bullshit - at these prices, I demand something close to perfection.

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10 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Anyone besides me sick-and-tired of overpaying for poorly kept cheeses? And I don't mean Whole Foods - in the past week, I've had really bad cheese at Organic Butcher (white cheddar with green mold which forced us to cut off nearly half the cheese) and Arrowine (Brie well-past its prime, which turned even further in 48 hours). If these weren't pushing $30 a pound, I might not complain so much, but the price of cheese at retail is criminal, and it's a minefield - hell, CostCo has a better track record of late than just about anywhere else.

I'm good friends with a cheese wholesaler, so I know full-well what a rip-off cheese is at retail. Unlike many other goods, with cheese, they nail you at the retail level.

Which retailer is willing to step up and aggressively guarantee their cheeses? This is bullshit - at these prices, I demand something close to perfection.

Agree completely on retail nailing of cheese prices. Kerrygold Irish cheddar is in my DNA. When I moved to the US in the early 90's discovered it was about twice the price compared to Ireland, and said what about it, oranges are cheaper in Florida etc. Was content to pay $5.99 per 9 oz block at any Giant that stocked it.  Has since become much more widely available. 

A Harris Teeter opened near me and they were $7.99, 33% more for the same. That's a big difference on a consumable product. Discovered I could get it for $4.99 at Total Wine. Then Aldi began selling it at $3.49, the same price per oz as the 24oz blocks at Costco.

One day at HT, I approached a bunch of suits who were standing in a circle, and unburdened myself. Within about a month HT had raised the price to $8.99, so now not only have they lost all my other non Kerrygold cheese biz, but my shoe polish biz as well.  That'll teach 'em............... 

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Trader Joe's has good cheese prices. There are some oddities, though. I bought some sliced Swiss cheese last week and tried to make a Chicken Cordon Bleu. The cheese doesn't melt. How weird is that? 

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