Adventures in Cheese

A chronicle of my journey to London to work in a well-known British cheese shop.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What is this paradise . . .

. . . but a tavern of ceaseless gorging and a brothel of perpetual bawdiness."
- William of Auvergne, courtesy of Irish monger cum philosophy student, Diedre.

Our primary job as mongers is to give everyone a taste of every cheese they will buy, may buy, or, if we're really persuasive, would never dream of buying. "Put it in their mouths," is a company motto.

This makes for some very personal service. There's no simple "Cheddar" or "Stilton;" there's a selection of three mature, traditional Cheddars or an assortment of cheddar-like lovelies. For Stilton, there's one: the hallowed Colston Bassett made to a unique NYD recipe. Beyond that there are dozens of delicate young goat cheeses, gooey Irish washed rinds, and soft-ripened sheep's bries.

To match the right cheese with its eater, we ask a lot of questions. These inquiries can, at times, sound strange. "Would you like your goat smelly and hard or soft and smelly?"

Customer response rarely disappoints and often mystifies. One man, upon tasting a cheddar, threw his head back, closed his eyes, and raised his hands as if conducting a symphony at its climax.

His response when he came back to us: "No, not that one."


At 7:38 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Lindsey, so pleased to read that you are enjoying London. When do you leave? I arrive January 6th and would love to see you in action at the store.

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