January 26, 2012

Steve Jones (Cheese Bar) on NPR

We know most of you likely caught the January 21 edition of NPR's award winning cooking hour, The Splendid Table, but if you're one of the few who missed out, no worries. We have a round-up of Lynne Rossetto Kasper's interview with 2011's Best Cheesemonger in the World, and Formaticum friend, Steve Jones. 

Jones is the owner and monger of one of Portland, Oregon's favorite cheese shops, Cheese Bar, where for the past two years he's been attending to cheese, and it's dedicated fans, behind the bar. Shipments to the Bar arrive six days a week and Jones says that opening the boxes is "one of our favorite moments."

"We call it cheese Christmas, because you're pulling out all of these great cheeses and every one is a surprise," said Jones. "Some of them you've never seen before - cheeses that come in from Germany or Belgium - and you're just totally pumped."

When Kasper asks about "cheese triage," Jones confides that belled cheeses, or those bulging on the bottom more than the top, should be flipped for their health and happiness (and that of those soon to digest their cuts). He also suggests customers eat their cheese as soon after purchase as possible. Pulling any labels off and wrapping in cheese paper will "allow the cheese to continue to breath without suffocating, and all that moisture being stuck inside. It'll double the life of your cheese."

Jones' Best Cheesemonger title was earned at this past year's Cheesemonger Invitational, held in Long Island City, NY. The competition, now two years running, brings the best and brightest mongers from around the world to show off their cheese chops.

For more insights into what it takes to become a monger and preserve your cheese, check out the interview in-full by clicking here.