Welcome to the home of all the best cheese from all over the world!
I'm Gina and I always knew I wanted my own business, but wasn't sure what it should be. My mom is from Austria. After visiting there often while growing up, I fell in love with all the little specialty shops. I also LOVE cheese. If there was a choice of cheese or ice cream in the fridge, everyone knew the cheese was mine. After years of pondering, the proverbial light finally went off: Why doesn't America have great cheese shops? And why can't I build one?
But Venissimo almost never existed.
The owner of the space we absolutely knew was perfect was not interested in splitting the space, nor leasing to an unknown business in an unknown industry. Who wants to buy just cheese? After spending months calling and faxing (yes, faxing) him reasons to let us in, I overheard that he would be at the site on a certain day. So I snuck in with a cheese plate to let the product speak for itself. Needless to say, he was convinced, and agreed to lease the space the very next day!
Hence, our flagship Venissimo opened its doors in Mission Hills on January 17, 2004, in just 450 square feet with only 50 cheeses on the shelves. Three years later, we opened our second neighborhood shop in Del Mar. In 2009, we launched our Academy of Cheese (AoC) educational series of classes and events to promote the goodness and glory of cheese. In 2014, we opened a satellite location in North Park inside Bottlecraft Beer Shop.
To date, we've had more than 2,000 cheeses on our shelves and continue to share the joy of cheese through our magnificent monger team in four San Diego area neighborhood shops and the AoC. When you visit, you can taste anything you like. Friendly and expert cheese mongers coupled with descriptive receipts (complete with pronunciations, country of origin, milk type and more) aim to take the intimidation out of artisinal cheese shopping. We don't just sell cheese, we sell joy!
We offer a flexible wholesale program to restaurants, caterers and other gourmet professionals, with no minimums and staff training available. Get what you need when you need it. Contact the manager at any of our neighborhood shops to learn more.
We strive to support as many organizations and causes that are near and dear to our mongers' hearts in the communities in which we serve. Due to an overwhelming number of requests, we can no longer accept donation requests online. You can visit your neighborhood shop to drop off donation requests and we'll see what we can do.
Gina Freize, Founder and Cheese Wiz