Earlier this summer, I attended the Taste of Cambridge and came across some delicious cheese samples from Formaggio Kitchen. I made a mental note to visit the store, and set out many weeks later to make the journey.
Since I had never been to the shop before, I had the choice to either drive my car or make use of public transportation. Fearing the absence of parking spaces in the city, I chose to walk the 20 minutes from Harvard Square, which was a big mistake in the blistering heat that day, especially when I realized Formaggio Kitchen isn't exactly in the most central area of town. There were parking spaces galore.
Please, everyone: at this time of year, be extra nice to your cheesemonger. And your butcher, baker, and everyone in the retail food industry maker. Because, as we all know, holidays are all about eating! And everyone wants the best of the best at the best price and the exact right time. It's hard to make it all happen for each and every person, but we try very hard!
Starting today, the true holiday food shopping season is upon us. If you, like so many of us, are having cheese as part of your holiday weeks ahead, try some new things and let your monger steer you towards what's great, what's going to last until you need it, what will please your picky sister as well as your own stinky cheese habit. And don't worry too much about amounts--this is one time of year that I encourage a little bit more rather than less. It always gets nibbled on, late night or midday lunchtime. And cheese is healthier than cookies.
That's all for now. Back to the counter!
In my last blog, I talked about what it is to be a cheesemonger, one of the more loved (and laughed at) titles that I've ever had the pleasure of using in my professional life. This blog, as promised, is about the difference between a cheesemonger and a cheesemaker. Based on the question I get often ("What kind of cheese do you make?"), I am sure that it must be made clear that these things are NOT the same.
Quite simply, a cheesemonger sells cheese. A cheesemaker makes cheese. And that's really the difference. One is there at the birthing and the other is there just prior to the hand off to the happy cheese consumer.
But there is more to say on this because they are interdependent folks and need each other to survive. Without the cheesemaker, the cheesemonger has nothing to sell. Without the monger, the maker is in serious trouble. Mutual respect and a healthy, in depth understanding and communication with one another is what leads to success for each profession.
“I had this cheese last time I was here and I can’t remember…”
This is the most common phrase uttered by a customer at the cheese shop where I’m a cheesemonger in northern CA. (Actually, the most common phrases are probably “I’d like something nutty” and “I don’t know anything about cheese,” but those are future blogs.) My focus here and now is on those who buy cheese regularly and just can’t remember what cheese they loved last time – and ways that this can be addressed.