Formaggio Kitchen, Boston

At this sensuous shop, the cheese is piled high above your head and everywhere you turn there’s a hand-lettered sign describing an artisanal product. When it’s our turn, a relaxed person walks up to us and asks us what we’re looking for. We describe something with whatever cheesewords we can muster and they go away and they come back to find us in the crowded store. They have with them part of a wheel of cheese. We stand there, very close together, with the cheese in the middle, tasting and talking about it. It’s so intimate.

If we don’t like it, they go get another one.

In other parts of the store, there are usually 8 or so cheeses to taste sitting out so you can help yourself. Recently we’ve discovered their roasted italian olives which have a softer flavor and peel right off the pit.

They also have very affordable and excellent baked goods (a subtle appreciation for the balance between too sweet and not sweet enough), a huge chocolate section, and fresh produce (local when possible).We’ve gotten our birthday cakes here for the last couple of years.