Cheese Grotto: A Philosophy and Methodology
The Cheese Grotto, a cheese philosophy
Cheese - a live, fermenting product - is complex and nuanced. Its final quality relies on the soil, the grasses, the health and breed of the dairy animal, the way the milk is handled, the way the curd is set, the microflora (both ambient and purchased cultures), and its method of preservation. Over the past 11 years, I have been obsessively devoted to the craft. I continue to travel around the United States and the world with an unceasing curiosity on the diverse nature of specialty, artisan cheese. Cheese making is a transformative, alchemical process from start to finish, from land to table, and gives meaning to milk's romantic alter ego as "liquid gold."
This notion of cheese terroir is not solely a turophile's indulgence. At its heart, it’s not about snobbery or elitism. Rather, it is about local agricultural economies that sustain themselves from ecologically sound practices of land and animal management that can power an entire regional economy for hundreds of years. Through my professional travels, I have shared in farmers' solely unique styles of cheese. There's a world of difference between a goat milk tomme from the Alsatian hills and a sheep milk tomme from the Larzac plateaus. There are reasons behind these differences: the natural climate, the terrain, and the traditions of the locals.
Those stories are what I want to share with the world. The Cheese Grotto provides a platform and an opportunity for that conversation. Our products and our online community are an active hub for regional cheese thinking, and its capacity to change our agricultural landscape into something more holistic.
We produce the Cheese Grotto in the United States for that very reason: to emulate these values of the specialty cheese industry at large and to promote manufacturing systems that support our domestic communities. In that way, we can see, smell, feel, and taste a direct, positive impact on our local economies and on the health of the environment that surrounds us.
The Cheese Grotto, a cheese methodology
Drawing from both ancient cheese wisdom and contemporary technology, the Cheese Grotto allows you to create an optimal cheese storage climate right in your own kitchen. The Grotto is designed to be enjoyable to use, beautiful to look at, and durable enough to last a lifetime.
Since 8,000 BC, cheese has been an essential staple for communities all over the world. Before refrigeration, there were varying methods for storing cheese. Early nomads kept cheese in natural caves, or, they would make an enclave in the forest, by tightly wrapping trees in animal hide to keep their cheeses cool and out of the sun. Throughout the centuries, cheese makers and keepers have come up with ways to store cheese and prolong its life, regulating humidity, air flow, light exposure, temperature, and carefully selecting materials the cheese would touch.
Modern cheese caves have further advanced cheese storage technology; electronics and lab testing build upon centuries of established tradition. But for all the advancements in technology, there has remained no ideal way for home cheese enthusiasts to store cheese. I wanted to bring the beauty and functionality of the cheese caves I had worked in as a cheese maker and cheese monger to everyone who loves cheese. After years of testing, refining the design, and sharing it with top cheese specialists, the Cheese Grotto is now ready for your enjoyment.
I hope your Cheese Grotto will serve to enhance your cheese experiences, and will pique your curiosity and enchantment with one of the most complex and varied foods throughout time.