Affinage and Exploration - So begins my journey with MonS Fromager-Affineur
So it begins.
I find myself sitting in an unfamiliar room in a small village in east-of-central France, staring into an abyss... which coincidentally looks a lot like an iPad screen. I have two months ahead of me, to learn and and grow and ponder my existence. What brought me to this point in my life?
Well, if you're here and reading this, I imagine you harbor some sort of love for cheese, or at least an abiding interest. My love affair with fromage began four years ago, when I was feeling disillusioned with what I was doing with my life, my ambition wavering, and my heart wandering. I decided to hop in a car with a few friends and relocate from Chicago to San Francisco. Within a week of moving I was hired at Whole Foods Market. It didn't take long behind the cheese counter to realize I'd found a field and culture and community that I could dive headlong into, and devote much energy and passion into absorbing. I don't know if I was meant for cheese, or if I was simply open and ready to let something into my heart. Perhaps I merely recognized what so many have before me- that cheese is beautiful and mysterious and profound. Whatever it was, I finally found that special something I had been searching for - that life's blood that motivates and drives you.
I eventually became a cheese buyer for Whole Foods, which aside from being a great learning experience, afforded me opportunities to meet and work with some excellent people in the cheese world. In this way I was introduced to MonS Fromager-Affineur, and the Opus Caseus Concept- a training program for aspiring cheese makers and affineurs at their base in Saint-Haon-Le-Châtel, France. I knew immediately that I had to do this! I wasn't entirely sure what it would entail, but I knew I loved the cheeses I received from Mons, and a chance to learn from the best, and in France no less, was something I could not pass up.
It would another three years from hearing about the OCC before it's realization for me, but I've finally made it here! I will be with MonS for two months, learning everything I possibly can about the cheese making, maturing, and retailing process. I am not yet sure to what end this knowledge will take me... As in I haven't decided which aspect of the cheese industry I want to set down in. Perhaps I don't have to choose just yet, or perhaps it will evolve continually.. but this at least is a promising start to a most excellent journey.