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Cheese Shop Brings Variety, Gourmet to the Village

Behind the Crushed Olive is a cheese goldmine in the heart of Huntington.

People walking past the Crushed Olive may not know it, but behind the oils is more than 50 types of gourmet cheeses, hand cut off the wheel.

The Benetti family brought Ideal Cheese in July 2012, a business that started in Manhattan in 1954, to Huntington village and joined with The Crushed Olive at 278 Main Street because of the likeness of the products and the great pairings they can provide.

The Benettis may not have started the business, but they have been running it for the past 10 years.

"We thought it would be very interesting and fun to get into the business," Chris Benetti, who runs the Huntington village store, said.

What really stands out about the business is the variety of gourmet cheeses many customers may never have heard of before.

"It's fun to educate the people on all the types of cheeses in the world," Benetti said. "Our motto we always stuck by is, 'let people try it before they buy it.' Because there are so many cheeses someone may not be familiar with."

When customers come in to the store, they are able to sample the cheeses first before they purchase it. Then the store cuts the food right in front of them, instead of having the cheeses prepackaged.

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Their most popular cheese is called "Midnight Moon," a USA-based cheese made of goat's milk. But there are also other products available, including different meats and gourmet products such as chocolate and cookies. Cheeses come from a variety of regions, including Belgium, Canada, Holland, Italy and Greece. Customers can find the type of cheese they want based on milk type, region, texture, strength and what it is best paired with.

The Benettis brought Ideal Cheese to Huntington because of its city-like qualities.

"We thought Huntington would be similar to Manhattan," Benetti said.
"It's more of a walking town and we thought the town needed a good gourmet cheese shop."

Benetti also was familiar with the town because of his former business, "Hot Spot," a tanning salon that he sold in 2005.

For more information, go to www.idealcheesehuntington.com.

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