Advice from a cheesemonger on finding good deals on good cheeses

Advice from a cheesemonger on finding good deals on good cheeses

Advice from a cheesemonger on finding good deals on good cheeses

>>> DOWNLOAD MP3 <<<

This story is part Tips for the houseCNET’s collection of handy tips for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.


Good cheese, i.e. artisan cheese (not to be confused with Kraft,) artisan cheese — the one you’ll find most easily at a specialty cheese retailer, farmer’s market, or at least in the part chic from the grocery store — of course, comes at a higher price than what you’ll encounter in the shrink-wrapped blocks and bagged shreds in the dairy aisle. “A lot of it is scalability savings,” says Zach Berg, cheesemaker and owner of Detroit’s Mongers’ Provisions. “If you’re talking about a farm, you have to talk about the cost of raising and feeding the animals, before you even get to the cost of making cheese in a very different way than a large industrial exploitation.

Buying artisanal cheese on a small scale not only tastes better, but feels better knowing that your extra dollars are supporting smaller or more local operations. That doesn’t mean, however, that all artisan cheeses are the same price-wise and that there isn’t great value to be had in the world of fancy cheese, or that you can’t score a good one. cheese for (relatively) cheap. To that end, Berg walks us through some professional strategies for how to save cheddah on your cheddar… and gruyère, and camembert, etc.

Read more: How to store your cheese so it lasts longer

Talk to a cheese maker

Becoming friends with your local cheese maker is very likely to pay off.


“Finding someone you can talk to is the first step,” says Berg. “I would think it’s finding an ally.” Like sommeliers, cheese makers are equipped to help you get your money’s worth, wherever you are. If you know you’re planning a cheese plate for a certain number of people and want to have a certain number of cheeses, the pros are best equipped to help you get the best and best cheese for your budget.

“Going to places where there’s someone to talk to is always so important to maximizing your money,” says Berg. “While Trader Joe’s is amazing, it’s harder to get what you pay for, even though their prices are low.”

In my own experience, every cheese professional has a (metaphorical) pocket of cheeses that they know customers will love, and that consistently over-deliver for their price. All you have to do is ask. Among those Berg likes are Milton Creamery’s Prairie Breeze, an American cheddar/gouda hybrid, Piave, an alpine-style Italian fondant, and Affinois’s Fromager: “It’s what people think of when they think brie,” says Berg. The latter qualifies more as an industrial cheese than an artisanal one, but that’s all the more reason to talk to the pros. “You can still use bigger players who have some of those economies of scale without, you know, selling your soul to the devil or eating bad cheese,” says Berg, who also cites Mitica/Forever Cheese and Hook’s as operations. dairy on a larger scale. who can offer lower prices but still have high quality products.

Find out about discounts, sales and promotions

Keep an eye out for promotions like Whole Foods’ 12 Days of Cheese, which usually take place in December.

whole foods

Fancy cheese is also on sale sometimes. “We give discounts when we overbuy, to be completely transparent,” says Berg, another reason to befriend a cheesemonger today so they can direct you to products on sale.

“All cheese has a shelf life” (Note: it’s probably longer than you think), “and I’d much rather you brought something home and I didn’t lose all my money rather let it go in the trash,” says Berg. “A lot of times there’s something that needs a home this weekend, and we’ll offer it 20% to 50% off, and honestly, that’s a fun way for our customers, especially adventurers, to meet new cheeses, because it’s less risky.”

If there’s nothing on sale that day that interests you, ask about future cheese sales, offers and promotions that may be on the horizon.

Ask for good cheese, bad cut

It doesn’t hurt to ask your local cheese maker for clumsy cuts, which are sometimes sold at a discount.

Kathrin Ziegler/Getty Images

Speaking of lower financial risk, “we have a ‘good cheese, bad cuts’ basket that we always try to maintain,” says Berg. “It’s still a really good cheese,” he says, which may have just been sliced ​​oddly, or come from a small piece left over from the end of a larger wheel. These pieces aren’t the fancy wedges you might want to put on an Instagram-worthy cheese board, but for trying new cheeses on your own or for putting together an awesome mix of shreds for grilled cheese, macaroni with cheese or fondue. , these odd little bits can be invaluable.

Even larger retail companies such as Whole Foods or the Murray counters in Kroger stores, frequently stock smaller or awkward cut selections. You can also look for or request a basket of small pieces at a reduced price at your local grocery store.

Understanding Cheese Metrics

At cheese counters, prices are often quoted in numbers per pound, which can lead to sticker shock if you’re not used to thinking of practical measurements.

Diana Miller/Getty

“I think most consumers don’t usually think about weights and measures when it comes to cheese,” Berg says, especially when they’re used to buying industrial cheese by the pack rather than the pound. At artisan cheese counters, prices are often quoted in pounds (or fractions of pounds), which can lead to sticker shock if you’re not used to thinking about how much of that $30-a-pound cheese you’ll get. you might actually buy. (I’ve seen a few retailers fight this by posting their quarter-pound prices, though.)

Industrial blocks of cheese – the shrink-wrapped cheddars and colby jacks in your dairy aisle – usually come in 8-ounce, or half-pound, portions, so unless you’re planning a cheese bender on a single weekend or making a cheese plate for a particularly large gathering, a normal cut of artisan cheese for most households is between a quarter and a half pound. So when you look at those prices per pound, start dividing and save yourself the coronary.

On the other hand, because the cheese is already in a suspended state of controlled decomposition, it has resistance, so if discounts are offered by buying more at one time, know that there is no reason to s ‘expect you’ll have to throw some away for spoilage if stored properly.

In-store loyalty and subscription programs

Many of the best cheese shops now offer subscriptions and customer loyalty programs.

Merchant supplies

Many cheese retailers offer loyalty or subscription programs, or both, which are also ways to save money on your fancy cheese needs. If you sign up with Mongers’ Provisions, for example, you get 2% back for in-store purchases. “It’s a way for us to stay more connected with our customers,” Berg says, “and let them know that it really means something to anyone spending their money with us.”

Cheese subscription Boxes from your local stores or creameries may seem like a luxury, but it can also save you not only money but also time. “For people who are further away from the store or don’t like going to a store every time, our subscription boxes can include discounts, and the more you buy, the cheaper items become.”

Buy local cheese

Supporting good local cheese makers helps them keep prices low.

phi2/Getty Images

No matter what you spend on artisan cheese, and even if you’re not buying directly from a cheesemaker or cheese maker, buying locally by getting to know local brands in your area can add value, if not necessarily savings. “Buying local brands provides great value,” Berg says, “because you’re getting delicious food, your money stays in your local economy and has a bigger impact there.”

Along the same lines, the little crunches often found in aged cheeses are called tyrosine crystals, which are chemically not so far removed from dopamine. That is to say, when you buy local, artisan cheese, the cheese can feel good for more than one reason.

Looking for more useful advice and how to save money this year? We found the cheapest place to buy groceries online and calculated how much you’ll save buying private label products.


Do you find AfroNaija useful? Click here to give us five stars rating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button