Today is a special day for dairy lovers. To celebrate, we’ve got a few cheesy tips for National Cheese Lovers Day, January 20th. Here you will find all kinds of great ideas to better your experience with and love affair with cheese. American’s love their cheese. So does Craig Gile. He is a former “cheese grader” for Cabot Creamery. Currently Northwest Regional Sales Manager, his job was to eat cheese. In fact, he used to sample as many as 200 cheeses a day!
I caught up with him this week to get some tips on using, serving and even storing cheese. I also wanted to know about his job and if he needed an assistant. First of all, dairy is in his blood. He grew up on a dairy farm in Vermont and started working at Cabot while in college.
A cheese grader, not grater
Cabot specializes in cheddar cheese and has warehouses full of it. At each one, there are sample blocks. Craig would roll up with a special knife, pull a core of the sample cheese and get to work. He tested for all kinds of things like PH and salt. Then he got to taste. Next, he determined how the cheese is aging and what it would be best used for. For instance, shredding, slicing, or extended aging.
“A lot can go wrong with cheese,” he says. “Cheese is complicated.”
Craig’s cheesy tips
When looking to serve cheese at a party or when wanting to pair it with other foods, desserts, wine and spirits, he has some advice. “Don’t overthink it. It’s about the experience. Stop and experience the cheese.” In other words, slow down. Take a minute to really enjoy the texture and all the flavors that are present. Let it melt in your mouth, literally.
“Cheese pairings are not an exact science. The best thing to do is try to match the intensity levels of the cheese with whatever wine or spirit you are serving,” he says. You don’t necessarily have to match flavors, however, that is another way.