My Favorite East Bay Haunt — the Cheese Board

My VERY favorite sourdough cheese rolls. Heaven! ($2 each)

If I am ever in the vicinity of the East Bay, there is one place I always have to stop — the Cheese Board Collective in Berkeley.

It doesn’t matter if I happen to be headed to Oakland or Emeryville. I gladly make the detour, put up with finding parking in Berkeley’s congested Gourmet Ghetto, and happily wait in line at this bakery.

Because the baked goods are just that good.

I’m talking sourdough cheese rolls so incredible that I almost always inhale one right when I get back into my car; the freshest English muffins with a plethora of lovely nooks and crannies; sweet, crumbly corn cherry scones the color of sunshine; and moist, deep, dark, wonderful chocolate cake loaves with a hint of coffee.

A two-serving triple berry crostata.

The BEST English muffins. ($4 for six)

Then, there’s the cheese. The store has one of the best selections with almost 400 different cheeses sold. It also has a very knowledgeable staff to help you decide between that Mona jack cheese, that Chaumes triple cream or that Windsor blue. Best yet, they offer tastes before you commit to buying.

The Cheese Board was founded in 1967 as a small cheese store. Four years later, the owners sold the store to its employees. Ever since then, it’s been a 100 percent worker-owned business that operates as a cooperative.

Now, it also sports a separate pizzeria just steps away that’s open for lunch and dinner. You can find it easily by the long line that’s always there, especially at the noon hour, with customers primed to buy whole ($20) or half pies ($10) or just a slice ($2.50).

The Web site lists the type of pizza that will be featured each day. It may be topped with peaches, mozzarella, Danish blue cheese and arugula in a lemon vinaigrette one day; and fresh corn, zucchini, onions, mozzarella, feta cheese, garlic olive oil, cilantro and key limes the next.

Only one pizza is featured daily. It’s always meat-less, and it features the amazing cheeses sold at the store.

A partial-baked pizza from the Cheese Board, topped with cauliflower, capers, mozzarella, Montalban cheese and garlic oil.

A luscious slice after being heated up on a pizza stone in my oven at home.

If you want to bypass that line at the pizzeria, you can pick up a half ($10) or whole ($20) partial-baked pizza to-go at the cheese store instead. I often do that, then heat up the pizza on a stone in my oven at home for a fantastic, no-fuss dinner.

If you’ve never visited the Cheese Board, it’s definitely worth making the trip. I guarantee one visit is all it will take to leave you hooked.

Another Berkeley Bakery Worth Visiting: Love at First Bite Cupcake Bakery

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Date: Thursday, 25. August 2011 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Bakeries, Cheese, General, Great Finds, Pizza

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19 comments

  1. 1

    OMG that looks amazing! it’s only 9:30 and I’m already craving pizza.

  2. 2

    I love Arizmendi at Lake Merritt, but still haven’t been to the OG cheeseboard. My favorite treat are the zampanos, especially when they are hot out of the oven!

  3. 3

    Seriously – This place is among the best!

  4. 4

    looks like I’ll have to make this trip, so many yummy things :)

  5. 5

    Oh, thanks for the tip about the partially baked pizzas. I didn’t know they did that. I might try that the next time I’m in the area and not wanting to stand in that crazy line next door! ;-)

  6. 6

    Your photos are all so beautiful!! I wish there was a such a great bakery near my house!

  7. 7

    Can you believe I LIVE in Berekley and have NEVER been! I don’t like pizza so I have not thought about going, but that cheese biscuit photo….I am reconsidering!

  8. 8

    Sounds like great place to visit. I definitely will swing by there when I visit SF the next time. I love cheese and everything you mentioned looks and sounds delicious.

  9. 9

    Andi: Get yourself to the Cheese Board pronto! Even if you are not a pizza lover, you will go crazy for the breads and pastries there.

  10. 10

    […] (I am going back to Chez Panisse on Sept 23rd and cannot wait!)  Also, Food Gal wrote about another Berkeley institution this past week, The Cheese Board. […]

  11. 11

    Wow… wish I didn’t like on the OPPOSITE end of the country. This place sounds just too amazing!

  12. 12

    Looks so thick and rich with cheese. This will definitely be one of those mouthwatering stuff that I have as collection of recipes.

  13. 13

    The pizzas didn’t win me over (probably because I like meat), so I’ve visited Cheeseboard maybe 2 times since I’ve been in Berkeley. But “the freshest English muffins with a plethora of lovely nooks and crannies; sweet, crumbly corn cherry scones the color of sunshine; and moist, deep, dark, wonderful chocolate cake loaves with a hint of coffee” just sound too good to miss, I’ll make a trip again. :-)

  14. 14

    Thanks for such a great review! The food does look wonderful and those sourdough cheese rolls! OMG! Makes me want to fly out there right now! :)

  15. 15

    I just woke up, drinking coffee and I WANT one of those cheese roll NOW. Life is just so unfair. I need to make a trip west, don’t I?

  16. 16

    I swear I commented, but here I go again. I love the Cheeseboard, and those cheese rolls in the first picture are an absolute favorite. We are so lucky to have Arizmendis for access to all the wonderful bake goods unfortunately sans cheese. Their pizzas are delicious and the par baked ones are ideal. I also love their pizza dough for making a quick something at home.I have to say I think their brioches are some of the best ever!

  17. 17

    I love Cheeseboard! When I was still at Cal I would pick up the whole pizza to go, grab some beer and just relax at home. Nothing really beat a night with Cheeseboard and tv.

  18. 18

    […] Irresistible Bakery: The Cheese Board in Berkeley Share and […]

  19. 19

    […] (I am going back to Chez Panisse on Sept 23rd and cannot wait!)  Also, Food Gal wrote about another Berkeley institution this past week, The Cheese Board. […]

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