Monday, February 1, 2010

BIG CHEESE little cheese

Somehow, somewhere two weeks have slipped since my last post. I thought this next post was going to be about some films I've seen (the next one maybe...) but this one is a about:

and little cheese.

So what's it all about? There's no way to pretend the following will be coherent, so I'm not going to try:

* In London I lived next to a cheese monger (love that occupation name - monger, iron monger and cheese monger being the two I continue to see - it's not used in American English). Well, I thought of myself as living next to La Fromagerie, though in reality it was a 4 minute stroll away. It's a gem of place, and most things cost just about as much as gems. But getting back to the cheese, they have their own cheese cave. I should say "cave", because it's a wonderful room that the customers can walk into, to be surrounded by the smell of ageing cheese. What a smell! And the cheese monger himself will give you a tour, with some suggestions and tastings thrown in. Looking back, I don't know why I didn't buy more cheese. For one thing, you could get unaged raw milk cheese, which we can't here. For another, it's irresistible! So just for the record, it's not that I could resist, it's just that somehow I went shopping on Sunday, market day, and tended to buy my cheese there...

* In New York, I live next (in the same sense as above) to a very fine, quite reputed cheese section. Indeed, one person liked it so much he asked - and was given permission - to get married there! (No, not me, though not a bad idea for the future...) The only problem here is they have many cheeses pre-cut and pre-wrapped. Good cheese, but usually hunks (don't like that word, but it's the right word...) Of course, you can get them to cut piece for you, but you have to endure the competitive sport called New York grocery shopping. Some people move too fast and knock you over. Some run their shopping cart into you Achilles' tendons (there's a reason ancient mythology picks this as Achilles' weak spot...) Even more taxing is weaving your way through the crowd. Overtaking the slow walkers and the indecisive, while yourself being flanked by a shopping cart and a baby stroller. In this kind of high-risk situation, you don't really want stop to to ask for your bespoke slice of cheese. You grab what you can and run.

* In Boston, I now have my own cheese monger. Actually it's a wine store and provisions store. The wine store is great, if like me you enjoy good wine but don't enjoy the sticker shock of buying wine outside continental Europe (sorry UK -- same problem there as here....), and I'm sure at some point I'll write about how this has changed my life. (But that phrase sounds bad no? At the least, a bit tricky...) But the cheese monger... Life changing... My local grocery options here basically consist of overly expensive, overly large, pre-packaged cheese. Now instead, I pop in for somewhere between $2-$4 worth of cheese. A thin sliver of Gorgonzola here, a brick of Robiola there, and even better a great selection of American cheeses. (For the doubters out there, American cheese isn't only Kraft slices. There's good stuff there. Right now I'm nibbling on a American raw cow milk's cheese...)

I wish there a were a more philosophical peroration to this line of thought. But really, that's it for now. Big cheese, little cheese.



If Jane said...

clap clap! always a pleasure to read you! ;)
i have only heard and used "fish monger"...i never knew that the english say "cheese monger, ice monger" ...maybe because i never bought either whilst there...heheh???!!
oh...and you must be a bit more firm in does not always need a hunk of cheese! ;)))

愛鋒頭 said...

給你一個鼓勵 ..................................................

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Oh, all about the little cheese!

Funny, we've just started referring to the fishmongers as the fish shop - must stop this immediately to retain a sliver of cultural identity! And the nicest thing about those cheese places is you can eat lots of slivers of cheese but only buy one...

Bombay Beauty said...

愛鋒頭, I wish I knew what you were saying! Google translate really does not do you justice! bb

howler said...


the guy who got married in zabars cheese section is willie gluckstern, a friend of mine - he's one of the main buyers for nancys wines on the uws (74th and columbus) - do check it out, wonderful wines.

and you CAN get cheese made from unpasteurized milk in the usa - it just has to be aged at least 60 days.

Bombay Beauty said...

Howlerji, Indeed, that's the problem, unpasteurized milk cheese has to be aged, which is the pity of it... keep on forgetting to check out Nancy's Wines... I'm on it this time without fail! BB

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