New Year’s resolutions are something we either make or make fun of (you know it’s true). I’ve started viewing them as “goals you make at the beginning of the year with a check-in date of 365 days from now” rather than as “new year’s resolutions.”
No matter what you call them, many people do set goals for themselves that start on January 1 or thereabouts. This year, I encourage you to cast aside the hackneyed “lose weight” resolutions and do something more substantive with your energy.
And by substantive, I mean cheese. Obviously.
Cheese! There is so much to learn and know and taste and read about cheese. You can think you know everything, and then someone will drop a bomb of new knowledge and you suddenly need to know so much more.
Learning about cheese is one of those things that takes a lifetime.
Disregarding how much of your life has been lived in cheese ignorance, or how much you already know or think you know about cheese, I urge you this year to make a concerted effort to learn something (or a lot) more. Make yourself a scholar of fromage.
Learning about cheese can mean a lot of things.
Tasting cheese is a learning experience in and of itself. Just as no two wheels of artisanal cheese taste the same, so too does the same wheel of cheese not taste the same as it ages.
Case in point: the other day at work we encountered a wheel of Delice de Bourgogne that was very aged and gooey; from the same packing batch, we also found a wheel of the same triple cream that was young and firm.
As true cheese scholars we performed a side-by-side tasting test. The flavor and texture differences were striking: whereas the younger wheel tasted like cream cheese—tart, zesty, and thick—the more aged wheel was buttery, full-bodied, and creamy.
Your cheesemonger may have some journals to give away for free (we usually do), or you can always buy one or just use a regular old notebook. I’ll talk more about how to taste cheese in a future post.
Another way you can learn about cheese this year is by reading. In a coming post, I’ll share a list of books and magazines that are good for beginners and beyond. You can also read cheese blogs (ahem!), Wikipedia, and google’s search rabbit holes to read up on the endless world of cheese.
Finally, tasting and reading up on cheese are good, but they become even better when you get to talk about cheese. Talk to your cheese monger, your bestie, your partner, your dog.
Or choose a friend who will resolve to share in your cheese journey this year. Someone who will support you, taste and learn alongside you, and push you never to give up as long as there is cheese left on your plate.
Think of it kind of like the Century Club, but for cheese.
By tasting cheeses, then reading and talking about them, you’ll become a real connoisseur. You’ll also realize you will never know everything about cheese, and then you’ll just have to strive to learn even more next year.