For cheese-lovers within striking distance of Seattle, get yourselves to Big John's PFI (Pacific Food Importers)
. It's a hard-to-find, canopied door on a dead-end alleyway, but it's a cathedral
to cheese. An air-conditioned glass case about 30 feet long holding what looks like hundreds of cheeses.
And you can sample as many as you like, with no pressure. One slow day, I got a complete Stilton ("the perfect marriage of cow and bug") tour from the chatty counter-guy, then we wandered into soft French, and the complete revelation of a Boucherondin, which my girlfriend declared to be "utterly knickerdropping."
Prices are not exactly wholesale, but given that they supply probably every good Seattle restaurant, turnover is high and quality is excellent. You're limited to buying at least a pound or so, what a shame, what a shame, what a shame...
And that's just the cheese counter. The place is an international food warehouse with vast reach. While you're there, grab a 25 Kg bag of Antimo Caputo "00" flour
for pizza, some slabs of cured bonito for shaving into katsuobushi (and the gorgeous plane used to shave it)
, and some enormous jars of white anchovies, or whatever takes your fancy.
Do I sound like a fan of the place? I go there sometimes just to walk around, which is always a pleasant mistake...