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Cheesemonger Tales: Pull Up a Chair

Sheri LaVigne, owner / cheesemonger at The Calf & Kid Artisan Cheese Shop in Seattle

Behind every cheese, there’s a good story waiting to be told. You just have to ask the right people. In this blog series, Amanda will be interviewing cheesemongers from around the country and relaying their most fantastic tales of international travel, in-shop aging, and curious customers. 

 Each time you go to the fridge, open the cheese drawer, and peel back the wrapper of a brand-new wedge, you’re revealing layers of stories – stories of goats grazing on grass; of cheesemakers pressing or stretching curds; and of cheesemongers descending into caves below their shops, picking out new varieties, cutting them into samples, and doling them out to customers.

If you enjoy good cheese and like to throw in fancy words while discussing it, you’re probably familiar with the concept of terroir. That is, the characteristics that geology and climate impart on a product. I can’t help but think of cheese as exhibiting a more definitive sense of place. But I also have this suspicion that, like stones on a beach shaped by millennia of rolling waves, cheese is deeply affected by the fantastic things that happen during the process between pasture and plate. 

What better way, then, to learn the secrets of cheese than by asking the people who spend their days buying, aging, and slicing the stuff? Cheesemongers are the furthest thing from boring, walking human textbooks. They are experts animated by infinite stories gathered from the animals, cheesemakers, and customers with whom they interact. And they’re just itching to give you a glimpse behind the scenes.

So pour some wine, cut yourself a hearty slice of your favorite cheese, and pull up a chair to the counter. These are some stories you’ll not want to miss. 

What was your most memorable interaction with a cheesemonger? Post your interaction in the comments section below and you might with a copy of our Cheese+ pairings issue! Comments must be posted by 11:59 p.m. on July 14, 2014 to be eligible to win. Stay tuned for next week’s post about Valerie Gurdal of Formaggio Kitchen.

Photo Credit: Featured Image of Sheri LaVigne of The Calf & Kid

Amanda Minoff

Amanda recently graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine with a degree in English Literature and Art History. She is a reader and writer of fiction and loves cheese that tells a good story.

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