Farmstead and La Laiterie may share an address, website, and dairy grandeur, but Farmstead certainly squirrels out a name for itself with its own unique charm. If cheese is your thing but triple-digit bills, dim lights, and long waits decidedly aren’t, this might be your new home away from home.
In short, Farmstead supplies the smorgasbord of cheeses that gives La Laiterie its backbone. Huge wheels of fromage are piled strategically on marble counters, where savvy cheesemongers are lurking at your beck and call. Don’t be shy: they’re generous with samples and ready with the scoop on whatever you’re eyeing. Finals provide the perfect excuse for a little self-pitying binge on the “cheese orphans” (stray, cheap morsels at the register) or self-selected goodies. For direction, some favorites after the jump.
- Ewephoria: appropriately named sheep’s milk Gouda; tastes like caramel and love
- Délice de Bourgogne: the greatest triple-cream Brie (cheesemonger speak for “basically butter”)
- Roaring Forties Blue: milder, creamier blue cheese with brown-buttery flavor; eat with pasta, on crackers, or with stolen Ratty pears
- Shelburne Two-Year Cheddar: soft, sharp Vermontian wonder–as good as cheddar gets
- Spanish Goat’s Milk Feta: the loveability of goat cheese with the versatility of feta; use the olive oil sludge as salad dressing later!
Wisely, Farmstead incorporates its cheeses into a lunchtime sandwich menu. In one of the weirder options, harissa chicken is combined with yogurt, wilted spinach and chopped toasted almonds. It’s a loose and potentially dubious take on chicken salad, but it somehow works–the yogurt is a nice change to mayonnaise, and the almonds are always a pleasure. Even the vegetarian option is a triumph: a hearty black bean filet with cilantro aioli and pickled jalapeño fills your belly as much as the next burger. And then, of course, there’s the grilled cheese, which combines a variety of cheeses with Bourbon melted onions. As if that weren’t enough, everything is served on downy ciabatta rolls topped with flecks of salt, and when the bread’s as good as what’s inside, that’s a wonderful sign.
Beyond cheese, Farmstead’s also home to a bounty of bourgie snacks that cater to the fetishism of stores like Dean & Deluca. Walk inside and you’ll stumble into organized chaos, but the beauty is that every time, the assortment will be slightly different. Once, it included goat’s milk caramel and samples of black truffle-infused sheep’s milk cheese. Another time, baskets were filled to overflowing with chocolates from local chocolatier Garrison Confections. Icing on cake: there are t-shirts that say “Fight for your right to pâté” (damn right).
High: Farmstead is similar enough to its luxe older sibling, but with a healthy dose more casualness and accessibility. The sandwiches are pretty great, but the unadulterated cheese is heaven.
Low: Probably because of the La Laiterie affiliation, Farmstead still gets away with jacked up prices like $9 sandwiches. It’s dangerously easy to get carried away on a cheese high and end up spending $40. (High value; still pricey.)
Bottom line: Scamper here for picnic fixins. Kid : candy store :: you : Farmstead. Just exercise caution so you don’t plunge into destitution before reading period’s even over.