Why Cheese Matters

Great food experiences start with cheese

Some of the greatest experiences we can have in life center around food— pasta in Florence, baguettes in Paris, pizza in Brooklyn. And the very best of those experiential meals are always centered around a critical ingredient: great cheese.

It’s not by accident. Cheese has a special place in history—going all the way back to pre-agrarian societies— and every culture has their own special method of capturing their local flavors in cheese. By the time of the Roman Empire, traders travelled hundreds of miles to bring treasured regional cheeses to the wealthy in Rome.


Cheese Monger
It’s that incredible variety that makes cheese such a staple delicacy in so many cultures. Cheese, as much as any other food, embodies the concept of terroir, capturing the flavor of the climate and local plant life.

And it’s that unique, fragile mix of milk, live cultures, and preparation style that gives cheese its endless variety of taste and value. To make sure that the experience is carried through from pasture to dairy and ultimately to your table, cheese requires a level of care greater than almost any other food. But it’s definitely worth it.

Knowing that cheese is rare and fragile may be part of why it contributes so strongly to that heightened food experience. When a perfectly ripened brie served at just the right temperature sets the stage, you can trust that the rest of the meal is going to be fantastic.

Cheese has been there since the birth of cuisine

Cheese is probably one of the first prepared foods. Historians believe it was discovered when travelers stored fresh milk in sacks made from the stomachs of ruminants. With its earliest roots tracing back to 5,500 BCE cheese has been documented in many of the world’s most well-known cultures throughout history. It’s no surprise then that cheese has over time become an essential part of so many different cultures’ cuisines.

Amazingly, most cheese is made from just four ingredients — milk, culture, rennet, and salt — but the process results in endless varieties based on location, age, milk origin, or even just altitude.

The thing that unites cheese across cultures is that it’s always been cherished, valued, and sought after.

Cheese has its own rules

Because one of the four ingredients in cheese is culture that means that cheese is alive when you eat it. Microbes living in the veins of a blue cheese give it that distinctive tangy flavor. A flurry of white molds gives Brie its magical exterior.

That all means that it takes incredible care to preserve the cheese’s journey from field to dairy to creamery to store to table.

A soft-ripened cheese, aged for six weeks in a cave in France, wrapped in wood, and sent across the ocean can be ruined by just wrapping it too tightly. All of that vision, intention, and time needs to be carried through the cheese’s life to maximize the enjoyment at the end.

Brie is Alive

That’s why the best cheeses are made in large, heavy wheels, protecting the insides and giving the cheese the sturdiest form.

But to get to your table, those cheeses need to be cut down, converted into wedges, wrapped, and shipped in a careful way following the highest possible food standards, including SQF level 3.

A cheese for every palate

You could eat a new cheese every week and never get to try them all. The variety and variability of cheese is endless—from a different milk to a different age to a different style—each requiring its own special handling and preparation.

At one time only experienced cheese mongers could offer fine cheeses. Handling them carefully, providing the proper environment to best protect the cheeses. But now, we can recreate that experience at scale, with perfectly shipped and converted cheeses delivered to each grocery store location in any mix and configuration. Satisfying palates as varied as the cheeses available.

Cheese is a delicacy that signifies a great food experience

Since cheese has such a cherished place in history, and because it is known to be difficult to prepare, ship, and present, cheese has become the symbol of a fine meal.

And so any grocer that carries fine cheese and does it well can show that they are a part of that great tradition. And now with custom store brands, any store can show they’re part of that experience.

Cheese sets an expectation for higher quality

 

Even a low priced processed cheese food can dress up a white bread and bologna sandwich. But a freshly-sliced provolone perfectly complements a crusty rustic loaf topped with a gorgeous shaved prosciutto.

Just as a thoughtfully chosen cheese plate before a meal hints at the chef’s developed palate and intent to explore favors throughout the following courses.

And of course, any serious cheese plate can be accompanied by artisan crackers, dried fruits, chutneys, and an inspired wine choice. You can look at Cheese Cupid for endless pairing suggestions for the cheese in your meal.

A meal that incorporates fine cheese becomes a meal to remember and share.

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Unlocking that great experience is what we’re all about

We seek the heightened experience of terrific food enjoyed in great company. Those experiences are what inspire us to work so hard to bring cheese to communities across the country.

In the same way, we seek the heightened experience of partnering with retailers, not just shipping product.

We thrive by working with and integrating the community in everything we do.

Because we’re all about elevating experiences through cheese.