Jan Stanzeski and her husband, Chester, developed an interest in cheese a few years ago during a visit to a cheese shop in Austin. Several years later they opened their own shop in the form of Stanzeski’s Cheese, Wine & Charcuterie.
Jan, a former teacher, said she and her husband loved artisan cheese and began to sign up for cheese certification and study courses across the U.S. in hopes of learning enough to open a business of their own. The couple lived in Houston at the time but decided to move to Georgetown to open shop.
“We felt like Georgetown had the perfection combination of demographics and location for what we wanted to do,” Jan said. “Georgetown [is] one of the fastest-growing towns in the country, and folks here enjoy great, unique foods and culinary experiences. It seemed like a perfect fit.”
Georgetown did not have anything like Stanzeski’s, she said, but residents embraced the new business.
“Georgetown has been extremely welcoming and enthusiastic,” Jan said.
Stanzeski’s does not make cheeses in-house but brings in varieties from all over the world. One of its best-selling cheeses is a Roquefort blue cheese, as well as a Fromager d'Affinois, a soft-ripened double-cream cheese from France that is coated in French herbs and garlic.
Texas cheeses are also popular with customers, Jan said. The shop has about 50 types of cheese for sale at any given time.
With the shop’s focus on artisan, hand-crafted and small-batch cheese—unlike most products found in grocery stores—the selection process can be overwhelming for some customers, Jan said. Staff input and tasting samples can help, she added.
Erika Bongort, a credentialed cheese professional and chef who works at the shop, said she and the Stanzeskis are “geeky” when it comes to the cheese they sell.
“There’s a lot of history. Every one of those cheeses in that case has a story, whether it’s a maker, an animal or the country it’s from,” Bongort said. “It’s not just a cheese on a shelf—it’s a story.”
Back to class with cheese and wine
In May the Stanzeskis were able to expand their business when a hair salon next door to their shop closed. The expansion will allow the Stanzeskis to offer cheese classes at their shop, something they had wanted to offer since before they opened their business.
Signups for classes, which will cover the basics of cheese and its various styles, will start in August, Jan Stanzeski said. Once the shop receives its on-premise license, which is expected to occur in the fall, the Stanzeskis will begin selling tickets for “pair and pour” wine classes.
Stanzeski’s Cheese, Wine & Charcuterie
103 N. Austin Ave., Ste. 310, Georgetown
Hours: Tue.-Fri. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Sun.-Mon.
A previous version of this story referred to Roquefort cheese as a soft-ripened double-cream cheese. Roquefort cheese is a type of blue cheese, and the story has been corrected to reflect this.