Our Story

read about my vespa tour

Welcome to Venissimo, home of all the best cheese from all over the world.

​Venissimo Cheese was founded by Gina and Roger Freize in San Diego in 2004. 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 wedge to an unknown business in an unknown industry. Who wants to buy just cheese? After spending months calling and faxing them 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 and agreed to lease the space the very next day!

Hence, our flagship Venissimo Cheese opened its doors in Mission Hills on January 17, 2004, with just 50 cheeses on its shelves. Roughly three years later, we opened our second location in Del Mar. Our third shop downtown - complete with an Academy of Cheese (AoC) educational program - opened in 2009. In 2014, we opened a satellite location in North Park inside Bottlecraft Beer Shop. And in 2016, we joined the group of artisans in the vibrant Liberty Public Market in Liberty Station. To date, we've had more than 2000 cheeses on our shelves and continue to share the joy of cheese through our four San Diego area neighborhood shops.

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 and glory of cheese. Literally - when you visit the shop, you can taste anything you like. Friendly & expert cheesemongers plus 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.

Where to next? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, check out some fun stories in the news...

Behind the Counter with Vend 

San Diego Union Tribune​​ Easy Cheese Making at Home

United Hemispheres Adopt-An-Alp

San Diego Magazine Favorite Spaces

Exploring Wine Pairing Wine & Cheese

SD Voyager Meet Gina Freize

Locale Magazine Fun Family Food Finds

San Diego's Cheese Revolution from Food by Frances

Hot Gouda & Cold IPA Enjoy Venissimo + Bottlecraft in North Park

When Beer Met Food Cutting the Cheese at Bottlecraft Beer in North Park

City Beat Venissimo Teaches Perfect Pairings through Academy of Cheese

Savor San Diego PBS Program Sharing Passion & Dedication Behind the Counter

Thrillist Best Grilled Cheese in San Diego

San Diego Foodstuff Test Driving Amazon Fresh

San Diego Business Journal Venissimo Partners with Amazon Fresh

City Beat Cheese & Beer Together

Eater New Shop in Bottlecraft

City Beat Wine & Cheese

Specialty Food Magazine Sheep Milk Cheeses

San Diego Reader Fresh & Fluffy, Taste Anything at Venissimo

Pacific Magazine Brie Mine for Valentine's Day

Union Tribune Cheese Dream Comes True

San Diego Magazine Cheese Making Coming Soon

Sunset Magazine Cheese Lovers Club Membership a Great Gift

Pacific Magazine Venissimo Heading to The Headquarters

San Diego City Life Real Estate Serving Downtown Residents

Union Tribune Heading to The Headquarters

Huffington Post Venissimo Voted One of Best Cheese Shops in World

Del Mar Times Venissimo Expands to Larger Space at Flower Hill Promenade

Los Angeles Times Food Cheese by the Beach

San Diego Magazine Del Mar Expands to Add Classes

Gourmet Retailer Sampling Program Key to Venissimo

San Diego Reader All the Best Cheese from All Over the World

Panini Happy Sharing Favorite Grilled Cheese Recipe

Serious Eats Venini Panini at Venissimo

Entrepreneur Using QR Codes in Business

San Diego Reader Delicious $7 Lunch

San Diego Reader Queso Diego Cheese Club Launches

Sign On San Diego Super Diners Choose Cheese Boards

Mint Life Honey with Blue Cheese

San Diego Union Tribune Venissimo is Kid-Friendly

Sign on San Diego Venissimo's Great Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

KNSD TV Score for Small Business

Sedimentality Craft vs Kraft Cheese

San Diego Foodstuff Cheese Making Basics at Venissimo

Pacific San Diego Magazine Venissimo Brings Cheese to San Diego

Union-Tribune Best Cheese Plates in San Diego

Entrepreneur Owner Gina Drives a Vespa

Gaslamp Ball Best Cheeses for Padres Game​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​