POLL: Cheese of the Month (Week, Etc.)
Several people have expressed interest in having a regular Cheese of the Month (or some other interval of time) thread on the Cheese Board. Each thread would have a single cheese as its topic of discussion. To help determine the best way to proceed, please provide an answer to the following three questions from among the choices given:
1. Does this idea interest you?
2. How often should the threads appear?
MONTHLY (Cheese of the Month)
Every TWO WEEKS (Formaggio of the Fortnight)
WEEKLY (Cheese of the Week)
3. How should the cheeses be chosen?
VOTING: This procedure would mirror the method used for Cookbook of the Month. Before each new thread, readers would nominate cheeses or indicate their preference from a short list. The cheese with the highest number of votes would be the cheese discussed that month.
COMMUNAL LIST: Occasionally (say, twice a year), readers would indicate cheeses they would be particularly interested in learning more about. The originator of each thread would then choose from among the cheeses on the list.
WRITER'S CHOICE: Whoever is responsible for starting a particular month's (week's, 14-day) thread would be free to write about any cheese.
Please begin your response with your answers to the three questions, using just the words in caps. (Obviously, if you're not in favor of this idea, you need answer only the first question.) This will make it easy to tabulate the responses. Example:
If you'd like to explain the reasons for your choices or contribute other comments, that would be very helpful, but again, please place your answers to the three questions at the top of your post.
I like this idea, and I'm glad you are taking this on, cheesemaestro.
Is the idea that all of us will go out and buy the cheese, so we can all taste/experience it together? I like this idea, since like COTM and DOTM, that would make this an interactive project.
So, assuming that's the case, my thoughts are as follows:
I think the coordinator should make sure to choose cheeses that most people will be able to find at a local cheese shop, though I am okay with them not being the most common cheeses. I also think we should alternate between different types of cheeses, so maybe a hard cheese one month, a soft cheese the next month, a blue cheese the next, etc.
re: Dave MP
"Is the idea that all of us will go out and buy the cheese, so we can all taste/experience it together?"
That is certainly one way to go about it, although some people will be familiar enough with a particular cheese from past experience not to have to do that. Still, this suggestion is worth considering, if it's what people prefer to do. A limitation of this approach is that there's no guarantee that a store will have the designated cheese in stock, even if it's one of the more common ones. The big cities that have several cheese shops will offer the best opportunities to find a cheese, yet even busy, well stocked shops can't carry everything or will temporarily be out of a particular cheese. I do agree that we should strive for variety: in type of cheese, country of origin, milk (cow, sheep, goat, water buffalo), etc.
I think tasting would be an important component...I personally would love to know more about how to describe cheeses, and talk about how different cheeses look/taste/smell, and I think I'd want to read about it *and* taste/smell/touch it to get the full experience.
So I do hope we can choose cheeses that most people in large metropolitan areas could find close by.
I live in cheese desert Florida, with occasional trips to cheese paradise Wisconsin. Cheese heaven France is a distant memory and goal again. I have had so many internet disasters, spoilage, and wrong orders through the mail, that I will probably not be able to participate too often. But I will if I can.
Q: Does Cheese of the Month include recipe discussion?
I selected writer's choice because several CH's indicated a hesitation to start a thread on the Cheese board due to a lack of detailed cheese knowledge. A writer's choice with knowledge about a particular cheese can help propel the discussion from a specific starting place and still encourage thread-wide participation. How do you vote on a cheese you are not familiar with? And to clarify further, when I say writer's choice I'm referring to in-house, CH members with considerable cheese knowledge (already sharing on the Cheese board) not necessarily guests approached to cover a Cheese of the Month OP.
and, does choice #3 have to been written in stone? In other words can't voting, writer selects or communal all be tried until or if a particular method works best.
The price of cheese is a very good point raised regarding the frequency of a Cheese of the Month project.
YES - love cheese, & buy different types often.
MONTHLY - good cheese is expensive; I think expecting or hoping folks buy a new one to try every week is asking a lot. Plus a month gives more time to try different things with a specific cheese without having to cram that all into a week.
VOTING - feel this is much more democratic & allows those who aren't cheese experts to feel more involved instead of always having to follow the "leader".