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vermont cheesemonger rory stamp at dedalus wine shop, market, & wine bar

Ask the Monger: How Do I Learn to Taste Cheese Like An Expert?


How can I learn to taste cheese the way the experts do?  Tasting doesn’t have to be formal or prescriptive—cheese is the great democratizer, that incredible distillation of dairy that anyone with taste buds (and lactose tolerance) can enjoy. The rules are simple: Taste often and taste deliberately. Start a journal or photo log of cheeses you taste and record your observations.   While […]

Ask the Monger: What Cheese Do I Need to Try While in the UK?


I’m traveling to the UK. What cheese do I need to try? For anyone visiting the UK, especially for the first time, a West Country Cheddar is an absolute must-try! I recommend one from Keen’s or Montgomery’s, preferably aged around 14-18 months. Of course, another classic is a blue Stilton. I like the one from […]

ask the monger - cheese out of the fridge

Ask the Monger: How Long Can Cheese Sit Out of the Fridge?


How long can cheese sit out of refrigeration? Awesome question! It’s one I get a lot at the counter, especially in the summertime. Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple answer: It all depends on the cheese. Generally speaking, those with a higher moisture content like fresh cheeses, soft cheeses, or anything especially squishy don’t do as […]

Three types of stinky French cheeses stand in a row next to thin breadsticks

Ask the Monger: What Happens When You Store Cheese in Plastic Wrap?


What happens when you store cheese in plastic wrap?  Good question! This is a hotly debated topic, and everyone has an opinion. I welcome the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the complexities of the answer.The effect that plastic wrap has on cheese varies depending on the type of cheese. The rind is the most […]

5 Tips for Buying Cheese at the Counter


Cheese counters can be awfully intimidating: All those foreign names, different styles, and stinky aromas are enough to overwhelm anybody. Not to worry: a good cheesemonger is like a fairy godparent. They just want to make all your cheese wishes come true! While a good monger knows their cheese, they don’t know you—and that makes […]

fresh mozzarella with a slice cut from it

Ask the Monger: Why is My Homemade Mozzarella Squeaky?


Every time I try to make homemade mozzarella, it never ends up shiny with a stretchy texture. Instead, it pulls apart like Play-Doh and has a squeaky texture. What am I doing wrong? Squeaky mozzarella—and off textures in general—are almost always a result of overheating milk and/or curd. Take care to heat the milk and […]

Sheep Milk Yogurt - Old Chatham

Ask the Monger: What’s the Difference Between Cheese and Yogurt?


What’s the difference between cheese and yogurt? We often fall into the trap of placing dairy products into defined categories. I think a better approach is to imagine them existing on a spectrum. In some contexts, they’re close together; in other contexts, much further apart. Both yogurt and cheese utilize starter cultures to produce acidity. However, […]

What Exactly is a “Sharp” Cheese?


People often talk about how “sharp” a cheese is. What is sharpness, exactly?   “Sharp” is a colloquialism. Typically we don’t use it when judging or grading cheese, and it has no legal definition. You’ll hear it most often in the context of cheddar, where it’s sometimes synonymous with “aged.” For example, young cheddars are called […]

room temperature cheese

Is Cheese Better At Room Temperature?


Some cheeses are best straight from the fridge, while other types of cheese might benefit from warming to room temperature.