My name is Anna and I love food. I started this year-long project with the intention of educating myself about cheese and sharing this newfound knowledge with my followers (are you there?) along the way. Let me break it down further:
Who: Myself and hopefully some pals who are interested in learning about cheese with me. I will also get by with a little help from my friends, Steven Jenkins, Max McCalman, Anne Saxelby, Greg Blais and so on. These acclaimed cheesemongers – along with many others who may or may not have published their own encyclopedias or hosted their own radio shows – and their knowledge will be the sources upon which I rely to create my posts.
What: For one year, until August 2017, I am committed to trying twenty-four new cheeses: two cheeses every month, roughly a cheese every other week. In addition to tasting a cheese, my goal is to learn about where it’s made, who it’s made by, how I might be able to incorporate it into a dish, etc.
When: August 2016 – August 2017
Where: I will primarily be procuring my cheeses from shops in New York City. Said shops will be sourcing their products from around the world, but mainly Europe and the United States.
Why: Cheese is so much more than just a boring old hors d’oeuvre at dinner parties served with Ritz crackers. I find it to be a particularly enlightening food with a profusion of character. Cheese that is made carefully and thoughtfully by producers who use top-quality ingredients (i.e. raw milk) and follow traditional cooking methods offer us insight into the history of human civilization and the eternal mystery of life: what happens to us after we die.
Cheese has been around since humans have learned how to cultivate food for themselves. Over centuries and across cultures, recipes controlling fermentation have developed according to local lifestyles, climates and other natural conditions. For that reason, cheese is a historical and cultural relic.
Cheese is spoiled milk. Camembert, Gorgonzola, Swiss and hundreds of other beloved cheeses are the product of the post-death evolution of milk. Fermentation is an endlessly fascinating natural process through which we can gain an intuitive understanding of ourselves.
So there you have it.
Oh, and one more thing.
I understand that artisan cheese is a luxury. Many people do not have the funds to drop a wad of cash at Whole Foods for a hunk of Parmiggiano. It is a privilege to have the resources that I do to support this undertaking of mine. That being said, I will try my best to offer my readers tips on how to taste cheeses with me in the most accessible way possible.