Storing the Grotto: Fridge, Counter-top, or Cellar?

Many people enjoy the Grotto because it is not an electric piece.  It is a humidor, inspired by the days before refrigeration, and it speaks to the rustic cheese lover in us all.  So where is the best place to store your Grotto?  That, my cheese friend, is up to you.  Pick your cheese adventure...

 

The Counter

When I made cheese in France, the French would leave their cheeses out all day, usually on a wooden board covered with a breathable cloth.  Many cheese specialists that use the Grotto at home, such as Steven Jenkins, Anne Saxelby, and Matt Spiegler, also store their Grotto on the counter.  This is because they are familiar with specialty cheese and its behavior in different climates.  They also recognize that cheese takes on more complexity and flavor as it ripens in temperatures warmer than the refrigerator. The breathable Grotto, when exposed to a room's fluctuations in temperature and humidity, can be a little more complicated to manage if you're not up to the challenge.  If the room goes above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you may want to consider the two other storage methods.

 

The Fridge

The fridge has always been notorious for its unwelcoming climate for cheese.  It can dry cheese out in under a day. However, the Grotto solves this problem by giving the cheese a perfect climate in cooler, fridge temperatures. This is what I call the fool-proof, beginner method for Grotto storage. The Grotto outperforms other storage methods when kept in the fridge: it extends the shelf life and quality of each wedge and wheel, with no external fluctuations of temperature and humidity that affect the outcome. 

 

The Wine Cellar

By Che - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=630332

A cool cellar for storing wine is the middle ground between these two options.   A wine cellar is often slightly warmer than a refrigerator at 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so its temperature is more ideal for cheese storage.   It also is a great climate to try your hand at cheese making in Grotto, as all the conditions are met in a cellar for proper small batch home cheese making.

Different Styles of Cheese

To learn more about different cheese's characteristics and their preferred preservation methods, you can read Part 1 of an endless series on cheese preservation tips.

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