Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Psst...wanna know a secret?  DiBruno's - the greatest cheese shop in all the land - offers private tasting events to anyone willing to plunk down $40. These are after-hours affairs with a "you see it, you can try it" ethos. They don't actively advertise these, you just have to know about it.  Making the night that much cooler and more exclusive.  Even so, they are booked up for months - so you'll have to wait your turn to get in on the action.

It works like this - you pay $200 for the first 8 people, then $40 per person for each additional person. The tasting events are only in the 9th street location and you can bring as many friends as you like, but more than 25 would probably get cramped.  Two or three of the cheese mongers will stick around after their shifts end to guide you through the various antipasti, meats & cheeses. They'll prepare plates of specific salumi and pairings to pass around (goat cheese & roasted beats, duck prosciutto, pork belly come to mind) and let you sample just about anything that doesn't need to be cooked. The antipasti bar is extensive - every type of stuffed olive and pepper imaginable, roasted veggies, pickled everything, all laid out for you self-service style.

Feeling overwhelmed by all the choices? Here's a good strategy. Camp out in front of the cheese section and just start pointing at things. They will unwrap and let you sample any and all of the cheeses. One of the things that they do best at DiBruno's is steering you in the direction of a cheese that speaks to you. They honestly believe that there is a cheese for everyone and they'll ask you questions about what you like and don't like, and find something for your particular palate.

Oh, did I mention it's BYO? Bring as much wine as you like (and remember to share with the cheese mongers). You've got two hours to ingest as much parma ham, taleggio & stuffed olives as your pants will allow.  I'm sure there's a few cases of gout walking around Philadelphia as a result of these tastings.  You also get 10% off anything you buy at the end of the night. It's not a huge discount, but it sounds really appealing after four glasses of wine. "Sure, get what ever you want honey!"  That pile of cheese became a small pyramid by the time we were being rung up. 

The cheese mongers could not be nicer and more accommodating. Rocco & Mike made sure that everyone was well fed. We had some last minute additions show up - so they were probably a bit short staffed. You wouldn't have known it by the amount of food they sent over the counter though. On top of that, they took the time to explain each of the cheeses, sample a bit themselves, and help find something that each person loved.

This is probably the coolest place in the city to host a get together. Forget bowling. A night at DiBruno's would be the ultimate birthday party. Remember when your parents took you to Chuck-E-Cheese when you turned 7 and you were so excited you thought your head would explode? It's kind of like that, but with better food and minus the creepy animatronic mice. 

930 South 9th Street in the Italian Market
Philadelphia, PA 19147

cheese monger porn

1 comment:

  1. About an hour after I posted this, I noticed that DiBruno's is now advertising the After Hours events on their website. And the price is now $400 for the first 8 people, and $55 for each additional. Although apparently you get a handy canvas gift bag now.