Seaside Cheese Company owner Steve White had a dream of owning a restaurant since his high school days. Once he earned a culinary degree, he worked in the restaurant industry, and a noted chef even took him under his wing. But the hours were long, and once he got married, he decided to move into the health care field, where for 20 years he was food service director at two nursing home convalescent centers. When the opportunity came to open his own shop, Seaside Cheese Company was born.
At West Cape May's Seaside Cheese Company, it's truly a "world of cheese". In addition to cheeses from America, such as Wisconsin and Vermont cheddar, you'll find products from Italy, France and Greece. When you visit Seaside Cheese Company in West Cape May, you'll learn a lot from Steve, who encourages tasting in his shop. "Before you buy a cheese you are unfamiliar with, I want you taste it, rather than have you get it home and discover it isn't something you care for," said Steve.
Speaking of learning, Steve explained that if you like provolone cheese you should be aware that the domestic cheeses get their flavor from the gas they shoot into them, so you're ingesting the gas, too. But, foreign provolones get their real sharp flavor from the aging process.
Open the door and you're greeted by a daily sample tray of cheese, and the Whites also advertise a weekly cheese special. He'll suggest different ways to enjoy it, recipes and what wine to pair with it. Seaside Cheese also sells homemade hummus, olives, roasted peppers, Le Bus bread, paté, and jellies and jams.
Despite being the lone artisan cheese shop in the area, Stephen keeps his prices down to keep the regulars coming in. "We're comparable to the Reading Terminal Market. Some of our artisan cheeses are cheaper than the grocery store. I don't want to kill anyone with prices, we're here to attract customers and serve them, not drive them away with high prices," he said.
Perhaps because of that philosophy, year-round and seasonal residents have responded. "I thank my regulars every day when they come in," he said. "The local community has really been supportive of what we're doing, and I see them so often that when I don't see them for more than a couple weeks, I start to worry that something's happened to them."