I often live in my own little cheese world, which includes me and my camera and laptop, random cheesemongers and cashiers, and fellow cheese aficionados on the internet. (We are very active on Facebook and Twitter.) Last night I got to break out of my proprionic cheese bubble and float into a sudsy beer bar called Tops Hops in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Rust Glover and his wife Angela, owners of Consider Bardwell Farm in Vermont, put on the event as a “holiday” party—in January. Rust, who is from London, is also an architect. He designed the bar to look like a cheese aging cavern with a long domed hallway.
Scattered around the area were platters of charcuterie and raw milk cheeses from Consider Bardwell: Dorset (a delicate, squishy washed rind, Jersey cow), Manchester (aged goat), and Rupert (an aged Alpine style Jersey cow).
On occasion, Peter from Consider Bardwell would cook up a big batch of grilled cheese sandwiches with Dorset cheese, kale, and caramelized onions. “Dorset is the new kale,” he alerted.
It was nice being in a room of all-out cheese freaks and geeks. I could speak freely about my fascination with Colombian cheese and no one thought it was weird. One woman was designing miniature cheese aging caves for in-home use. Others were working on cheese apps, books, and media projects. I was star-struck by the cheese celebrity, and both inspired and intimidated by the much younger set of cheese people popping up in what used to be a very small world.
On the way out, Max McCalman, an author and mover-and-shaker in the cheese universe, was taking “fingers” (of cheese) from the trays plus a few squares of grilled cheese sandwiches and putting them in a napkin. I followed suit because it was cold outside and I might need a bite on the train. And sure enough I did! I ate the cheese on the Light Rail in New Jersey.
Elizabeth Bland, Cheese Mistress