When it comes to the cheeses we love most, we generally think of farmers, cheesemakers and, well, cows. But there is another person, perhaps the most important in the equation: cheesemongers. They are the experts that help us determine what cheese we are looking for depending on our mood, food and drink pairings, or event. There is art, science and wildly precise skill to what they do. The Cheesemonger Invitational finds the best of the best. It’s a daylong competition to crown the best cheesemonger in the land through a series of brutal, exacting tests. We sent reporter Ryan Kailath there to check out this intense event.
Francis Lam: You have just come back from the wilds of Cheeselandia, The Cheesemonger Invitational. This is a cheese trade show basically, but it’s also become this place where dreams come true and hopes are dashed against the rocks. What exactly is it?
Ryan Kailath: It’s funny. I feel bad because you’re always talking to fancy chefs and culinary experts. And I’m just a dude who went to a thing; I have no food knowledge whatsoever.
FL: That is what makes one an expert.
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