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About Us

gina's vespa tour

Venissimo Cheese was founded by Gina & Roger Freize in San Diego in 2003. But it almost never opened!

The owner of the retail space we wanted was not interested in splitting the large space, nor leasing a little wedgie to an unknown business in an unknown industry (who wants to buy just cheese)?  After spending months calling & faxing reasons to let Venissimo in, Gina overheard that the owner would be at the site on a certain day. So she snuck in with a cheese plate to let the product speak for itself. Needless to say, the owner was convinced & agreed to the deal the very next day. 

Venissimo Mission Hills opened its doors on January 17, 2004, with about 50 cheeses on its shelves. 
Roughly three years later, Venissimo opened its second location in Del Mar.  Its downtown location - complete with an Academy of Cheese (AoC) - opened in The Headquarters in November 2013.  Most recently we opened a satellite location in North Park inside Bottlecraft Beer Shop.  To date, we've had almost 2000 cheeses on our shelves. 

Where to next?  Stay tuned... 

Our mission is to do for cheese what Starbucks® did for coffee! "Someday, camembert will be as well-known as cappuccino," says Cheese Wiz Gina. We will do this by sharing the goodness & glory of cheese. Literally - when you visit the shop, you can taste anything you like. Friendly cheesemongers & descriptive receipts (complete with pronunciations, country of origin, milk type & more) aim to take the intimidation out of artisinal cheese shopping. 

We offer a flexible wholesale program to restaurants, caterers & other gourmet professionals, with no minimums & staff training available.  Get what you need when you need it.  Contact the manager at any of our neighborhood shops to learn more.


When in San Diego or Del Mar, stop by & say hi to our tribe of cheese warriors: 

Sign up for our monthly "Cheese Chat" for all the latest cheese gossip (did you hear what Reblochon did with Red Hawk?) Also check out our recent media mentions & clips:


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