Being a cheesemonger isn’t quite like being any other type of salesperson. Sure, you’re selling food items, but unlike at a grocery store where shoppers usually know what they want before they walk in the door, at a cheese shop mongers are often asked to tell the customer what it is they want. They have to know that a customer who likes Valencay may also like Bloomsdale, that someone who has a lactose intolerance will do better with a very aged, sharp cheese, or a non-cow’s milk cheese. But these are just the obvious things that a cheesemonger must know. A truly successful monger must have knowledge that goes much deeper.
A cheesemonger is able to find cheeses around the country or world and knows the regulations that must be followed when getting shipments in internationally or domestically. He or she should be familiar with affinage, so that cheeses that are young can be aged to perfection in the shop. Understanding how to receive cheese, unpack it and store it so that it won’t spoil, and order only enough that inventory won’t go bad but there’s enough for every hungry customer is all part of the job. Plus, a bonafide cheesemonger understands how to avoid cross contaminating cheeses, how to do cut and wrap so that each piece is safe and clean and will last as long as possible in the customer’s refrigerator.
And then there’s the stories behind the cheeses. One reason a cheese lover will visit a monger instead of just rooting through a cheese bin is because the monger can explain where a cheese comes from. He or she can talk about the animals that produced the milk, the cheesemaker who cooked the curds, the affineur who lovingly ashed and spritzed and turned the cheese as it ripened, and much more. A true cheesemonger is an educator and storyteller, as well as a salesperson.
It’s because of all this that the American Cheese Society (ACS) decided that a certification for cheesemongers was necessary. If you go to a cheese shop that employs a Certified Cheese Professional (CCP), you know you will be working with someone who can do all of the above and possibly more than that. Someone who can procure the best, sell it while it’s in perfect condition, educate the buyer, and keep a clean shop. A CCP is an asset to the shop he or she works for, and more and more shops are searching for folks with this certification to fill positions.
Enter Sartori Cheese and culture magazine. The CCP exam is held once a year at the ACS’s annual conference. Understanding the value of the CCP exam to mongers who want to move forward in their careers, Sartori is sponsoring one cheesemonger to travel to Providence, R.I. where the ACS conference is being held this year. This monger will get free travel, room and board, a seat at the exam, and a ticket to the ACS conference. This could be worth thousands of dollars depending on where the lucky winner is located, not to mention the chance to boost your career in the cheese industry into the stratosphere.
Do you meet the ACS requirements for sitting the CCP exam? Do you want to move up the ladder and become a Certified Cheese Professional? Do you want a free trip to the ACS? Don’t miss this amazing opportunity, apply to be the #SartoriScholar today!