(Or, How I Found Pineapple in my Pleasant Ridge Reserve)
Before coming to work at Lucy’s Whey, I felt confident in my palate and even admired its ability to distinguish Brie from a triple creme, sheep from goat. I could put together a decent cheese board and I made a mean grilled cheese (fig, Fontina, and balsamic reduction, anyone?). Then I got my dream job–a cheesemonger.
On my first day at the East Hampton store I was extremely nervous, but feeling confident. After all, I spend most of my spare time either reading about, eating, or preparing food, and I have a rather unconventional love of goats–this job was made for me! Then we started tasting….
One of the lovely things about working at Lucy’s Whey is that tasting is encouraged–nay, mandatory–in order to get to know the cheeses. So I popped a piece of cheese in my mouth (Pleasant Ridge Reserve, to be exact) and immediately thought aloud, “Delicious,” because, well, it was! As we sampled together, though, my coworkers reactions were initially puzzling. “Nutty,” proclaimed my manager, “with notes of pineapple!” Another bite of the complex cheese left me thinking, Yes, I taste it, too! I tasted a fruity element, yet the flavor was round and smooth, and left a satisfyingly nutty taste in my mouth.
Since then, I’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid. Cheese simply tastes better now that I know what flavors are making my taste buds sing. “Yum” has been replaced by descriptors like caramel-y and brown buttery. And now I get to watch the “Aha!” moment on a customer’s face when I tell them their favorite cheese is sweet yet woodsy…and just plain yummy!