Stroll into Riverdel in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood and you’ll see all the markers of a delicious cheese shop: crusty artisanal breads lounging about, tempting jams on the shelf and a refrigerated case piled high with exquisitely packaged cheeses.
The one glaring difference: There’s not a drop of dairy in this place.
Riverdel, which quietly opened in December, specializes in vegan non-dairy cheeses. Instead of cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk, the cheeses are all nut and seed based.
Stop in and the accommodating staff will guide you through the selection. On a recent visit, we tried a soft and tangy spreadable cheese flecked with cracked green peppercorns from the Hudson Valley-based Treeline, a super-local fermented cashew cheese speckled with blue-green algae from Williamsburg’s Dr. Cow and Miyoko’s Creamery‘s lush cultured double cream with chives and chickpea miso.
For vegans and the dairy-free inclined, Riverdel is nothing but a windfall. But even dairy eaters will find that vegan varieties are great additions to a cheese board.
Owner Michaela Grob turned to veganism out of her love of animals. Fittingly, the shop’s name comes from her two rescue pets: River (her dog) + Fidel (her cat). “I found the selection of cheeses somewhat lackluster when I became vegan,” she told us. “Giving up meat or milk wasn’t a big deal, but like so many I talk to, kicking the ‘cheese habit’ can be tough.” The store is the delicious manifestation of her dream to have a place where she could go in and pick any cheese off the shelf.
Even if you aren’t planning on dropping dairy from your diet, these cheeses make excellent additions to any cheese lover’s rotation. With Riverdel just steps from Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum, we are forecasting the shop will be an important pre-picnic stop come warmer weather—but the cheeses are worth a trip even in these chilly months.
820 Washington Ave.