Say 'Cheese'

Artisanal Shop Opens In Harrisonburg

Posted: July 2, 2014

Daily News-Record

Cheese World owner and cheesemonger Mahlon Riehl slices and prepares cheese for sale June 30 at the shop in Harrisonburg. (Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R)
In addition to a description of the cheese itself, those for sale at Cheese World also boast recommended pairing options. (Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R)

As Mahlon Riehl tells it, his love for cheese knows no bounds.

Growing up in Lancaster County, Pa., Riehl assisted his parents in running a farmer’s market that boasted smoked meats along with fresh cheeses just a few blocks from downtown Philadelphia. His early adoration blossomed, as he spent hours surrounded by the dairy product.

“That’s where I was introduced to cheese,” said Riehl, now a Mount Crawford resident.  “That’s where my passion for [cheese] began.”

Since then, Riehl ate, taste-tested and researched cheese, all in the hope of realizing his lifelong dream of launching his own cheese business.

After moving to the central Valley seven years ago with his wife, Naomi, Riehl began considering the idea more seriously. It was then that he noticed the area’s need for an authentic cheese shop.  

On May 15, he filled the hole by opening Cheese World, located in a plaza on Burgess Road in Harrisonburg.

“It’s called ‘Cheese World’ because we have a world of cheese in here,” he explained, proudly.

And he’s not exaggerating.

Variously-sized blocks of fresh cheeses internationally imported — England, Norway, Spain, Denmark and Canada — add to those crafted in the U.S.

Anthony Burkholder, assistant manager, maintains the 6-week-old business has “more variety of cheeses than anybody else,” which separates Cheese World from its competitors.

A square sticker bearing a full description accompanies each cheese, as well as relaying information regarding food pairings.

For instance, the Hickory Smoked Cheddar cheese reads “a very smoky cheddar that reminds you of bacon and has exceptional cheddar flavor.”

Additionally, it “goes well with crackers; eat with fresh vegetables or grate over eggs for breakfast.”

If the description doesn’t answer all questions, Riehl also allows individuals to sample the products.

“I like educating people on the cheese while letting them taste it,” said Riehl, adding that any cheese in the shop is available for taste. “Any authentic cheese shop should let you taste their cheese upon request …  so, we invite people to taste them.”

Riel concludes, “We’re new, we’re different, and we’re excited and passionate about the cheese that we sell.”

For more information, call Cheese World at (540) 908-5659.

Contact Matt Gonzales at 574-6265 or

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