April 21, 2010

Pass the Cheese, Please!

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Are you a caprino capra, langre or cahsel blue fan? Could you pronounce more than half the words in the last sentence? Or is your cheese knowledge limited to the American and occasionally Swiss you request on your turkey sandwich at Trillium? Whether you’re a cheese expert or have never eaten anything but mozzarella (seriously?), Cornell’s Cheese Club has something for you; it’s a self-proclaimed community of, “Members … learning about the production, traditions and appreciation of cheese and fermented dairy products.” So in case you didn’t know (don’t worry, I’m not questioning your intelligence) there is a lot more to cheese than most people realize.

Co-President Steve Beckman grad, said that he was excited about getting the club started last May with co-founders Reid Ivy grad, Daina Ringus grad and current Co-President Matt Ranieri, grad. “I had normally dealt with cheddar and mozzarella, which are fairly simple to make,” Beckman said, “and [I] was curious about the other multitude of flavors out there to explore.”

Ranieri and Beckman founded Cheese Club because, as Beckman put it, “We all got together and realized there was no Cheese Club on campus and we all love cheese, so we figured we should definitely get one going.”

In addition to running the operations of the Cheese Club, Ranieri and Beckman attend club events, so they have plenty of experience in cheese tasting, as well as cheese making. The club meetings center around a specific theme at each meeting; Ranieri said that meeting themes include “[an] introduction to different cheese types, food and cheese pairing and a number of different guests to promote cheese and cheese production.”

The club’s most recent speaker was Jenny Harris ’00, a former Cheese Club member who is currently the executive chef at Tria Café. This month she visited campus and gave a talk on cheese tasting. Harris explained the various differences between the six main types of cheeses — fresh, bloomy rind, washed rind, uncooked pressed, cooked pressed and blue. Her talk came with some delectable perks, as Harris brought samples of cheeses which were expertly paired with foods either by similar taste, contrasting taste or local flavors.

The crowd you will find at any Cheese Club event is apt to be passionate about their cheese — not only the taste, but also the chemistry behind the cheese making process. According to the club’s website, they are an “interdisciplinary group of cheese lovers” who promote the production and consumption of high-quality cheese.

So are you hungry yet? Satisfy your cheese craving at the next Cheese Club meeting in the end of April; it will provide a chance to indulge in the really good stuff. On Apr. 29 the group will meet for a presentation by Taylor Cocalis ’05, who recently launched an NYC-based local food website called Good Food Jobs.

Even the most cheese-ignorant of us at Cornell are aware of a wide variety of cheeses and, as any Cheese Club member can tell you, the unique tastes of cheeses are boundless, and the fun is in discovering new flavors all the time.   RLD

Original Author: Alice Cope