Brooklyn Slate, Vermont Creamery, and I have partnered up to provide you with a regional giveaway that cannot be beat. As three companies located in the Northeast, we are proud to be part of the artisan cheese community. The Cheese Grotto is a preservation solution that uses the power of natural materials to promote the healthiest aging and ripening of all styles of aged cheese, and both of these companies only serve to further this agenda. The clay brick in the base of the Grotto is submerged in water once a week to maintain a healthy humidity level for the cheeses, and the architectural details of the bamboo structure, shelving, and back ventilation panel regulate condensation and promote consistent, gentle airflow (See here for the full Cheese Grotto Aficionado guide). These elements prolong the shelf life and quality of each cheese stored inside.
It was a natural progression for us to design Brooklyn Slate shelves for the Grotto: slate is a highly porous stone that regulates cheese in a similar way as our bamboo shelving. I chose Brooklyn Slate as our partner in design due to their high quality boards and the location of their slate quarry: upstate New York. In caves, slate helps regulate both temperature and humidity of the cheese, and its porous nature contributes to creating an ambiance for each cheese stored inside. The cheese can still breathe on all sides, avoiding excessive dampness of the underside rind. An added bonus of slate storage: you can also write your cheese selection on the board with the included soap stone piece.
Vermont Creamery's soft ripened goat milk cheeses thrive in the Grotto, and that particular style of cheese was the initial inspiration for creating a ripening and preserving box. Soft ripened cheeses, or bloomy rind cheeses, require high levels of humidity in order to properly ripen from a young, lightly flavored curd to a mushroom-y vegetal, full flavored cheese. Vermont Creamery does it well: their award winning cheeses have consistently beautiful and hearty rinds. Their cheeses, which have been produced since 1984, are a testament of the patience and perseverance required in artisan cheese making. Over time, and through daily ritual, the cheese has been finely crafted, resulting in a quality and terroir signature of Vermont Creamery alone. The Grotto then serves to maintain and preserve their craft in its best form. You'll see and taste the difference.
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