Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cheesemonger For A Day

Slinging cheese for a living is hard work. At least, I'm pretty sure it would be if I did it full-time.

As it is, the folks at Fromagination humor me one Saturday every month by letting me come in and pretend I'm a cheesemonger for about 4 hours. It's great. I stroll in around 10 a.m., don an apron, stretch on some plastic gloves, start talking cheese with customers from behind the counter and attempt to cut the correct amount of cheese ordered.

Besides being on your feet all day, the hardest part I find about being a cheesemonger is actually wrapping the cheese. Fromagination, like most cut-to-order cheese shops, uses a special paper with layers of plastic film that allow the cheese to breathe. While the paper is good for the cheese, in the hands of an inexperienced cheesemonger (i.e. me), it can become a giant wad of paper and tape that is not attractive. (I once wrapped a piece of cheese, only to have the customer hand it back to me and say, "Um, could you ask somebody else to do it?")

In good news, I have found a new mentor in the art of cheese wrapping. Matt, resident cheesemonger at Fromagination, showed me today his super cool way of wrapping cheese, called the French Pleat. I first saw this method a couple of weeks ago at the American Cheese Society competition in Austin, Texas, where cheesemongers from four different stores competed in a cheese wrapping duel. They did it so fast, however, I couldn't study their method.

Fear not, however, amateur cheesewrappers of the world. We may now unite, as Matt gives us an example of how to wrap a wedge of cheese using the French Pleat:


Okay, so now we know how to wrap a wedge of cheese. What about a square shape? Here's Matt again:

And, just because I asked him to, Matt shows off a bit by wrapping a piece of cheese using the French Pleat method in 10 seconds flat.

Personally, I think the best part about these videos are my incredibly inane sounds at the end -- from the "Yayyyyyy" to the "Whoaaaaaa" to "Wow". If I were more technically adept, I'd edit these to make myself sound better, but, hey, you're stuck with me. It is what it is.

So, many thanks to Ken, Bill, Matt, Paris, Tyler, Sandy, Kristi, Ryan, Gisele, and all the folks at Fromagination for humoring me by letting me pretend to be a cheesemonger for a day. See you all behind the counter next month!

1 comment:

MaryRuth said...

doesn't everyone's mom wrap their lunch box PBJs using a French pleat wrap? Mine did. And I do too. It's just the way it is done...