Years at Di Bruno Bros.: 7
Fave cheese of the moment: Renata. It’s probably the coolest cheese in the shop right now. Renata is actually a Brown Swiss Cow, one of the three cows that cheesemaker Sally Jackson milks at her farm in Oroville, Washington.
I first read about her cheeses five or six years ago in The Cheese Primer, so I looked up her number and called her. She answered right off the bat and basically said, “I’m really busy. I’m making cheese right now. I’ll let you know when I have extra.”
I sent her a box of Torrone and a copy of Frankenstein, and I wrote her a little note and told her, “this is one of my favorite books” and I told her we were really into her cheese. A couple weeks ago, I finally heard back from her. She said, “I have some extra cheeses – would you like them? The book was great, but I really loved the candies.”
Number of cheese tattoos: Two currently – a Parmigiano stiletto and a label from Montgomery’s Cheddar.
In my fridge: There are probably six different kinds of cheese. I always have Montgomery’s Cheddar (I bring that out to dazzle people). I also have some Shellbark sharp goat cheese, which is local, and some samples from Locust Grove. Beer, I always have beer.
Hobbies: Bacon. Skateboards. Literature.
Afterhours hangout: Southwark. They do a Shellbark fondue appetizer with flatbread that’s awesome, plus the best Manhattans and martinis.
What he wishes customers knew: We sell low-end stuff and high-end stuff, and the high-end comes from small-scale producers. If you want to understand cheese and charcuterie, you have to be willing to try those things.
Favorite thing about Philadelphia: The awesome kinds of different food that I can easily walk, bike or skate to! On my bike, I can be at Southwark or the Oyster House in about 7 minutes; Reading Terminal and Chinatown, 7 minutes. Italian Market and Vietnamese supermarkets on Washington, 4 minute walk. Ask me tomorrow, and I’ll tell you my favorite thing is the beer.