A Taste of Essex Street Market: Saxelby Cheesemongers
A historic culinary destination on the Lower East Side, Essex Street Market is home to more than 20 independent merchants. This series features the characters that make up the bustling corner of Delancey and Essex Street.
Calling all cheese aficionados! Saxelby Cheesemongers is the first cheese shop in the country devoted solely to American farmstead cheese. Much to the delight of New York City cheese lovers, owner Anne Saxelby has curated a unique selection of cheeses from over 30 dairies in the Northeast and beyond.
We caught up with Anne to discuss how she's been able to build a shop that successfully connects cheesemakers to foodies in New York.
Owner name: Anne Saxelby
Business name: Saxelby Cheesemongers
Market start: May 2006
Product sold: Locally produced cheese and dairy products
Why did you start Saxelby Cheesemongers in Essex Street Market?
I started the business in May of 2006. As a former resident of the LES, I discovered the market when I moved into the neighborhood in 2003. I've always been fascinated by the market and it's crazy, chaotic diversity.
When it came time to start Saxelby Cheesemongers, a friend mentioned that there was a vacant stall in the market, so I went to check it out and thought it was the perfect place to try and launch my cheese business.
What is your favorite memory at the market?
Probably Saxelby Cheese's opening day. All of my friends and family were there. We had cheese, wine and accordion music, compliments of Walter, the owner of Main Squeeze on Essex Street.
What is Saxelby's specialty?
Saxelby Cheesemongers specializes in locally produced cheese and dairy products. These are some of the best cheeses, butters, yogurts (you name it!) in the world... certainly on par with anything coming out of Europe.
The stories of the cheesemakers, how they got started, why they chose cheese, and why they make the cheeses they do is endlessly fascinating, fun, and inspiring. In the US there are now over 1,000 small-scale artisan cheesemakers at work! That's something that most Americans aren't aware of...
What is your favorite time of the week at the market and why?
Monday, when it is quiet in the market and we can get ahead with the week's prep.
Do you source any products from within the market?
We source bread from Pain d'Avignon for our grilled cheese sandwiches, and all of our cleaning supplies from Batista around the corner.
Most importantly, we also source all of our snacks from the market! Between Rona's cookies, Viva's fruit salads, Ron and Ira's fish sandwiches and Ni's array of delicious and healthy cooking, we're more than all set.
Do you have any “fun facts” about your business?
In addition to our shop in the Essex Market, we also have a cheese 'cave' in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Since the launch of the business, we've started selling to a lot of restaurants, so we needed more space!
I also host an internet radio show all about cheese called 'Cutting the Curd' on the Heritage Radio Network.
Cut the curd and pay a visit Saxelby Cheese in Essex Street Market. Check out their calendar for cheese tastings and other happenings. Read our other Essex Street Market profiles and learn more about all of the market's offerings at the Essex Street Market website.