Hi-dee-ho, online neighbors! What a crazy week it’s been. I’ve got some really exciting news to share with all of you. First, inspired by my talk with “Chutney Queen” Alison McQuade, (Read the interview here!) I applied for a cheesemonger gig at Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry Building in San Francisco—and they accepted me! Cowgirl Creamery. Ferry Building. I’m still in a bit of a daze. Working here is going to be so different from the small beach town cheese shop I was in before. I’ve admired them for SO long. They’re like the High Temple of Cheese in my eyes. I was a little nervous at the interview because I haven’t been behind the counter in a few years, so my cheesy handling skills have gotten a little dusty. No fear, though, the Cowgirl Creamery folks know exactly what they’re doing. I completed my first few days of work with (I think) only relatively minor issues.
The most ultra-momentous thing I got to do during training was break down my first entire wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano. All 80-something pounds of it. Someone handed me the necessary tools: a scoring knife, flat knife resembling a chisel, and an almond-shaped knife. Then, I got to work. First, I had to score a ring around the entire cheese (I’ve seen people go horizontal or vertical on this, but I went vertical). It took some work flipping the thing over to get all sides (remember, 80 lbs. dead weight!), but I think it only took a few minutes. Next, my trainer showed me how to jam the flat knife into the corners and center of the cheese, which created the initial cracks that I could then “encourage” with the help of my almond knife. At this point, it felt like I was just stabbing cheese along the scored line. It was controlled, but there was a good amount of brute strength involved. It was an unexpected arm and core day! I had to break the “no phone” rule just this once to take a photo of my handiwork! Breaking down a wheel of Parm has been on my bucket list for years. I’m so glad to finally cross that off! I’m very excited to see what the other days a the shop have in store for me! When my schedule is settled, I can share it with you. Come by and say, “Hi!” Or just come by and get some cheese.
The other piece of news is that Mr. Cheesemonger and I are heading to Europe for a few weeks. We’re leaving TOMORROW! It was a little unexpected, but we’re going to be in Normandy, where I will meet one of my favorite French lifestyle/food bloggers, Jennifer Greco, author of Chez Loulou. There will be some family, friends and farm time in Normandy as well! Next, I’ll hop over to Paris where I can bask in the deliciousness that is Pierre Hermé pastry, Berthillon ice cream, and whatever else I can. My dear cousin Anissa, author of the Parisian lifestyle blog Nomad’s Heart, has a great itinerary in the works there! Following Paris, M. Cheesemonger and I will explore Stockholm, Sweden. I am not that familiar with Swedish cheeses, but I hope this trip will change that! Our last stop will be London, UK, where I hope to delve a little more into the cheese life. Who can I meet there? We’ll find out soon enough, I guess!
When you have a chance, please check out Chez Loulou! It’s such a dreamy blog with beautiful images, information, and style! Nomad’s Heart is worth visiting as well. It’s a new blog (in French), but Anissa is building something quite lovely from her Parisian perch. If any of you dreaming about American cheeses, come visit the Cowgirl Creamery at the Ferry Building, or go to their online shop! Yes, they ship!
A bientôt, my friends!