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17 Awesome Cheese Tattoos


Jena Davidson-Hood's Tattoo from Sacred Wheel Cheese & Specialty Market, San Francisco

Photo of Jena Davidson-Hood, from our original piece on cheese tattoos.

As we all know, a great cheese experience can leave its mark on our hearts and our palates forever. But what about on your skin? Why not turn your love for that Limburger stink into a badass piece of ink? Make that parmesan permanent! That’s just what these folks did.

So here it is, a list of some of our favorite cheese tattoos and the most dairy-licious dermis in the industry!

Julia Birnbaum, cheesemonger at Di Bruno Bros

Subject: Julia Birnbaum, cheesemonger at Di Bruno Bros
Artist: Tron, East River Tattoo, Brooklyn, New York

“Ever since I fell in love with cheese, I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo of Brie knives, simply because I think they are so incredibly gorgeous. The time finally came during a period of transition for me, when I was thinking about leaving my first cheese job where I had been for years. When I got my knives, I was in the process of interviewing for a job at another cheese company. I knew this tattoo would either be a tribute to my time in cheese—if I didn’t get the job—or a symbol of commitment to being a lifelong cheeser. I’m so happy it turned out to be the latter.”


Lisa Futterman, Cheese Wholesale Director, Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread, & Wine

Lisa Futterman, Cheese Wholesale Director, Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread, & Wine
Artist: Richard Dean, formerly of A+ Tattoo, Avondale, Illinois

“I got this tattoo about two to three years into my cheese career. Champion cheesemonger Jordan Edwards, a delivery driver for Pastoral at the time, sent me to his guy, Richard Dean, who used to be at A+ Tattoo on Belmont in Avondale. I took him a photo of a graffitied fence in Montreal that said, “I heart cheese.” He transformed it into the perfectly clear message on my left shoulder forevermore. I got three more from him after that! He’s just the best.”


Kasey Francica, Affinage/cheesemaking apprentice, Jasper Hill Farm

Kasey Francica, Affinage/cheesemaking apprentice, Jasper Hill Farm
Artist: Val Yoma, Red Baron Ink, West Village, New York

“For me, the moment I knew I wanted to make a career out of cheese was when I realized cheesemaking has been a blind experiment for thousands of years. We are only just beginning to tap into the science of what has really happened when cheese ages. And one of my favorite ways to engage with customers about cheese science is to talk about cheese crystals. So I decided to pay homage to the crystal found in some of my favorite cheeses: tyrosine. Now I get to talk crystals with anyone intrigued enough to ask me about my tattoo!”


 Esther Hill, Office manager/logistical mastermind, Uplands Cheese

Esther Hill, Office manager/logistical mastermind, Uplands Cheese
Artist: Erik Gillespie, Great Lakes Tattoo, Chicago, Illinois

“Tattoos, for me, have always been about marking significant milestones, and passing the ACS CCP exam was one of those milestones. As for the design, I knew I wanted a cheese wire as I was a veteran cheesemonger at the time, and a lasso cheese wire seemed like the perfect fit. The work just went from there.”


Dan Utano, cheesemaker at large

Dan Utano, cheesemaker at large
Artist: Galen Leach, Powell Tattoo, Portland, Oregon

“I originally had a more elaborate cheese tattoo concept in my head that involved mice wearing leather jackets with pompadours and mohawks, eating a wedge of cheese. I kept procrastinating on getting it. My girlfriend had told me she wanted to go to Portland to see an artist she liked who just had a book full of funny tattoos and you get to pick from those. We drove down 5 hours or something like that from northern Washington. When I saw this in his book it was love at first sight, I knew I had to get it.”


Kia Burton, owner and cheesemonger, Cheesemongers of Sherman Oaks

Kia Burton, owner and cheesemonger, Cheesemongers of Sherman Oaks
Artists: Holly Ellis, Idle Hand Tattoo, San Francisco, California

“I got the Parmigiano Reggiano tattoo from Holly Ellis at Idle Hand Tattoo in San Francisco. That tattoo was about commemorating a moment I had the very first time I ever cracked open a wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano. There is something so incredible about getting to crack open a cheese that has remained virtually unchanged for the last 900 years. Being connected to history in that way is just such an amazing feeling—I was totally awed by the experience. And I wanted to always remind myself of that feeling with the tattoo.”


Nick Bayne, 2015 Summer Cheesemonger Invitational Champion and cheesemonger, The Fine Cheese Company - Cheese Tattoo 1

Nick Bayne, 2015 Summer Cheesemonger Invitational Champion and cheesemonger, The Fine Cheese Company
Artist: Tamara Santibañez, Saved Tattoo, Brooklyn, New York

“The Penicillium roqueforti plus my chef’s knife was a present from my sister, Zana, for my 30th birthday. I had been inspired by how beautiful skeletal and tree-like Penicillium molds look under a microscope and wanted a cheese tattoo that didn’t look like cheese to the untrained eye.”

Nick Bayne, 2015 Summer Cheesemonger Invitational Champion and cheesemonger, The Fine Cheese Company - Cheese Tattoo 2

“My mucor tattoo was a bit more spur of the moment, as the session was supposed to be for my wife Stav’s last tattoo before leaving New York for London. She was having an intricate design done, and I realized how much I was craving new ink. I remembered a gorgeous illustration of mucor mold releasing spores I had seen posted online, and asked the Facebook cheese community to help me find it. It turned out that DZTA Award winner Vince Razionale had thought of it as a tattoo idea. But there I was in the tattoo parlor, so…I blatantly stole it.  And I love it. Vince got the award and $5,000. I got a great tattoo and lost $250 for it. I think we ended up breaking even on it.”


Rebecca Heaton, Specialty associate team leader at Whole Foods Market

Rebecca Heaton, Specialty associate team leader at Whole Foods Market
Artist: Frank Fascenda, True Love Tattoo, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

“I was leaving the Cheese Certified Professional test at the American Cheese Society Conference, and Cypress Grove was hosting a party afterwards. I’ve always wanted a cheese tattoo, and when I saw the stencil they had created for Humboldt Fog, my first favorite artisan cheese, I knew that had to be the one!”


Julia Gross, Cheesemonger

Subject: Julia Gross, Cheesemonger
Artist: Niki Rain, Spirited Coalition Tattoo, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“I want to say I got this tattoo because cheese is a universe unto itself of wacky microorganisms all working together to make something beautiful, but to be honest, I just love that we’ve all scarfed down millions of these scary little cheese mites that look like engorged bed bugs while thinking, damn, that’s some good cheese!


Ryan Skrabalak, Sales Rep at Food Matters Again Emmentaler Devil Artist: Ryan Metz, Greenpoint Tattoo Company, Brooklyn, New York

Ryan Skrabalak, Sales Rep at Food Matters Again
Artist: Ryan Metz, Greenpoint Tattoo Company, Brooklyn, New York

“Ryan had done a few of my tattoos before. When I got to the shop that day, he says he thinks my original idea is too small and intricate for a proper forearm tattoo. Instead he riffs off this classic Sailor Jerry design, and puts a hunk of Emmentaler in the devil’s grip. Now I get the chance to educate folks a lil bit on the whole “not all Swiss cheese is ‘Swiss cheese’” topic if they’re interested.”


Tim Gaddis, Tim Gaddis, Founder of In Demand Cheese

Tim Gaddis, Tim Gaddis, Founder of In Demand Cheese
Andrew “Poindexter” Barfield, Cornerstone Tattoo, Senoia, Georgia

“I just saw a guy in the gym one day with a Special Forces t-shirt and I thought that replacing the arrows with crossed Dutch knives would look cool. Originally I wanted to incorporate a police badge into it, a nod back to my law enforcement days, but it didn’t look right so I had him do a wheel of cheddar instead. I used a Neal’s Yard pic of Montgomery’s for the cheddar.”


Jessica Fernández, Senior Cheesemonger at Lactography - Cheese Tattoo 1

Jessica Fernández, Senior Cheesemonger at Lactography
Artist: José Iracheta, Mexico City, Mexico

“The first one I got was a cheese that was created by Geo Yescas, Carlos Yescas’ sister. It was the year that Geo got the highest price ever for a Mexican cheese! This is my homage to Mexican cheese and Mexican cheesemakers, and a reminder that everything is worth it fighting for.”

Jessica Fernández, Senior Cheesemonger at Lactography - Cheese Tattoo 2

“The second one I got after the earthquake in Mexico City. Actually, the studio where I made my tattoo is in the heart of the Condesa, one of the most damaged neighborhoods. While we were on the session we were quite paranoid about what we would do if it started trembling again. I wanted a cheese tattoo that symbolized the secrets of Mexican cheeses—we are unique but we have deep roots. I have been working with cheese since I started working at Lactography in 2014. I started as Geo’s administrative assistant and fell in love with this world of bacteria, beautiful animals, and awesome people. Footnote: The flowers in the knife are cacao flowers.”


 Rosie Shestak, Cheesemonger, DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine

Rosie Shestak, Cheesemonger, DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine
Artist: Brad Wooten, Super Genius, Seattle, Washington

“I had been thinking about getting some sort of cheese tattoo for a while, pretty much since I realized this was what I want to do with my life. I was going through pictures of cheese tattoos and flipping through back issues of culture for inspiration when I landed on this picture of three wedges stacked. I continued looking, but I kept coming back to that image. Brad is an excellent artist and found a way to turn my idea into something much better. We settled on a cheese plate concept. I wanted to do a bloomy rind, a blue, and a hard cheese. He had found reference photos to use for the first two cheeses, but hadn’t looked up anything for the third. One of the thank you cheeses I brought him one session was the Vella Dry Jack, so he used that for the last cheese on my arm.”


Leslie Goff, Cheesemaker at Consider Bardwell Farm

Leslie Goff, Cheesemaker at Consider Bardwell Farm
Artist: Jody Adams, The Tattoo Clinic, South Glens Falls, New York

“About five years ago now, culture did an article on Consider Bardwell Farms. The centerfold was of me and another woman photographed with milk cans held up above our head. This is where the milkmaid came from, along with the milk can. The milk is pouring from the van and flowing into a wheel of our Pawlet cheese. I also added some of our jersey cows and goats.”

 

Adrianne Mingea, Murray’s Cheese Specialist
Artist: Tina Poe, Moon Tattoo Studio, Austin, TX

“This is my tribute to all of the ooey-gooey bloomy cheeses out there. I believed she used a Camembert as inspiration, however, I can’t commit to just one cheese so it’s just to represent any bloomy cheese. 

Excerpts have been edited and condensed for clarity. Want more ink? Take a look at our first cheese tattoo roundup from 2014!

Krista Sheley

Krista Sheley is a lifetime dairy lover and artist born and raised in the Midwest. She currently resides in Chicago with her two cat sons and can usually be found scouting new recruits for her army of houseplants.

3 thoughts on “17 Awesome Cheese Tattoos”

  1. I found this write-up exceptionally interesting probably because while we look out for profoundly meaningful designs to etch on out skin, it shows how something simple can also captivate attention. Want to convey your love for cheese? If yes, look out for ideas specified here, which are visually appealing as well as exclusive.

  2. After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox
    and from now on whenever a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the same comment.
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