Lisa’s Cheese/Chocolate Cuisinternship: Day One
Editor’s Note: Our Cheese and Chocolate Cuisinternship Winner, Lisa Graff, recently completed her week long adventure in Southern Oregon at Rogue Creamery and Lillie Belle Farms. We’ll be posting her recaps over the next several days. Enjoy!
Day One: Cheese Shop
Monday morning I woke up bright and early, a little bit jetlagged but thrilled to have left the oppressive heat of New York City behind me. The weather was cool and crisp and just a little bit overcast, which was more than okay with me! I arrived at Rogue Creamery and met David Gremmels, the president of Rogue Creamery, and Francis Plowman, the marketing manager and my “cheese mentor” for the week. David and Francis treated me to coffee and introduced me to the other Rogue Creamery staff, and then I was whisked away to the cheese shop to start my whirlwind education.
The first thing I learned about cheese is that there are exactly 7.5 bajillion types of it. Or that’s what it felt like, anyway. The Rogue Creamery shop is stuffed full of so many different kinds of cheese, it’s certainly a dairy-lover’s paradise. Luckily, I had Tom Van Voorhees and Niels Goosens, two of Rogue Creamery’s cheese experts, to teach me the ins and outs.
After a crash course in the cheeses of the world and all the varieties that the shop has to offer, I learned how to handle cheese, wrap cheese, select cheese, and, yes, even cut the cheese. I also learned that when the shop gets too warm, the best place to go is the enormous walk-in cheese refrigerator. A few minutes in there stocking and stacking, and even New York doesn’t seem too hot (brrrrr!).
Rogue Creamery specializes in blue cheese and cheddar cheese, but they are especially well-known for their blues. Their most famous is the Rogue River Blue Cheese, which has won awards in cheese competitions all over the world (and boy, do they have the medals to prove it!). My favorite of the blues, however, was the Echo Mountain Blue, which is made with a blend of cow’s milk and goat’s milk. It was earthy and smooth and just all around yum.
After a full day in the cheese shop, I headed out to Jacksonville with some of the staff members for a delightful dinner at Bella Union. A few of them thought that after an entire day of cheese-eating I might not be up for pizza, but they were wrong! The pizza was delicious, and the company was grand. It was a good day all around (and I even ended up on the local news!).