For many of our Burnside store shoppers who find themselves in the cheese section, you’ll likely be greeted by Susan, one of the most knowledgeable cheesemongers out there! We thought we’d sit down with her and ask her a few questions, then let you in on our little interview.
Zupan’s: How did you get started in the cheesemonger business?
Susan: When I lived in Washington, D.C. I ate my way thru a lot of cheese departments. So when I moved to Healdsburg, CA (Sonoma County), I started working in the cheese department of a specialty food store called Oakville Grocery and soon became department manager and a few years later, the cheese buyer for the whole company. I’ve been working in cheese for about 13 and a half years.
Zupan’s: What are some of your personal cheese favorites?
Susan: My long time favorites for everyday are: Taleggio (washed rind cow’s milk cheese from Lombardy, Italy), P’tit Basque (sheep’s milk cheese from the French Pyrenees), and Cashel Blue ( creamy Irish cow’s milk blue).
Zupan’s: What are some cheeses you recommend serving at upcoming holiday parties?
Susan: Cheese for the holidays would be La Tur (cow, goat and sheep’s milk blend from Italy), Cabot Cloth Wrapped Cheddar (amazing cow’s milk cheddar from Vermont), Casatica di Bufala (mild, creamy water buffalo cheese from Italy), and Moses Sleeper (wonderful cow’s milk cheese from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont…named after a Revolutionary War hero from Greensboro, Vermont where the cheese is made). I personally prefer a really simple cheese plate for the holidays (or any other time) with 1-3 cheeses, some bread or crackers, and perhaps some fruit or honey, and Marcona almonds (Spanish, buttery almonds fried and lightly salted).
So, there you have it, readers! Susan shares her favorites, as well as her tips for serving the perfect holiday cheese plate for your guests. Stop in and say hi to Susan at our Burnside store next time you’re in!