I am frequently asked what Formaticum means and how I found myself in the cheese packaging business. Both are good questions. Oh, and sometimes people ask who I am. Well, I am Mark Goldman, the owner and founder of Formaticum. Should we start at the beginning? Do you care that much? Well, I do. So here we go.
While working for a cheese import and distribution company, I discovered my love of cheese and dedicated myself to consuming as much cheese and learning as much about cheese as possible. The joy of finding new flavors and textures while hearing historical and often quirky stories led me to make my first cheese pilgrimage to Paris.
My goal was simple: visit every cheese purveyor in Paris! I hit the ground running, so we need only fast forward to my first night in Paris. Try to picture the bed in a small Parisian hotel room covered with all that I had bought from my day of exploring cheese shops. There were at least forty different types of cheese laid out all over the bed. The aroma in my hotel room was of ripe camembert, brie de meaux and vacherin mont d’or, all raw milk and delicious, of course! So there I was, breathing in the cheese funk, that had overtaken all other hotel smells, and feeling a cheese coma coming on from my feast.
I sat back, took a sip of wine from a bottle of forgettable Bordeaux bought from the corner bodega, and admired my bounty. Suddenly, I realized the assortment of materials wrapping each different type of cheese. What were these materials and how cool was it that they were all branded with the name of the purveyor so I could remember which cheese I had purchased where.
That was the “aha” moment. It came without warning. I quickly realized that the packaging differentiated these cheeses and, in a way, made them look noble. Then the question - why had I never seen these materials in the US? Two more sips of wine. How many times had I been asked what material to wrap cheese in? Everyone knew not to wrap cheese in plastic. But if not plastic, then what? There was the answer, right in front of me, lying on the bed covered with cheese. You should import the finest French cheese packaging! Done. That was easy.
Not speaking a word of French, or knowing anything about the task before me, I set off the following morning back to the same purveyors I had visited the day before. This time not seeking cheese but asking who provided their packaging and where could I find the supplier? I rented a car, drove to factories around France and the rest is history. I found the best manufacturers of cheese packaging and, from that day in 2005 since, I have dedicated myself to defending flavor.