Where: Paseo Nuevo, 811-G State Street, 884-WINE, thecheeseshopinc.com
What: A retail wine shop, tasting room, and cheese store featuring some of the finest hard-to-get cheeses from Australia to Switzerland.
How much: Wine flights (Five tastes), $18-$20; cheese plates (three cheeses), $12.95
The dish: Those who love and live for cheese will be delighted to stumble upon Santa Barbara’s newest cheese shop. Located in downtown’s bustling Paseo Nuevo shopping center, the wine and cheese store also functions as a one-stop tasting room. The enthusiastic staff behind the counter of the tasting bar immediately greets customers as they walk in. To the left lies an L-shaped section stocked with wine; to the right a wall is packed floor to ceiling with truffle and extra virgin olive oils, savory condiments, and poultry rubs. Coffee by the pound is also available for sale in 16 different roasts. The best part about this place is that customers can taste a sliver off of any cheese wedge as well as have access to the approachable staff’s knowledge and recommendations. If you’re searching for an interesting alternative to spice up a batch of chicken tacos, try the Leyden cheese spiced with zesty cumin. While sampling from a cheese plate, taste through a selection of wines, which are available in flights ($18-$20), by the taste ($3-$12), or by the glass ($5-$31).