One of the first things people notice when they’re browsing around Caputo’s Market is our Cheese Cave. They peer through the glass wall at the rows of cheeses, through the billowing mist, and their almost unanimous reaction is “what the…. A cheese cave?” The incredulous chuckles are my cue. I saunter over to spread the good news about Caputo’s cheese.
I hear some chuckles, Dear Readers, so let me saunter on up here and give you the scoop on the Cheese Cave.
First things first: Why does Caputo’s Market have a Cheese Cave? At heart, it’s simple: Cheeses are living, breathing organisms, and they really suffer when stifled in plastic. Caputo’s Cheese Cave replicates the nurturing environment that cheeses are raised in, with a pleasant cool temperature, high humidity, and air circulation. The Cave is an excellent storage space that ensures the cheeses in our care will taste great when we serve them, but also that they will stay alive, healthy, and evolve in positive directions.
Caputo’s Cheese Cave is also a therapeutic environment. If you’ve ever experienced severe jetlag, you know how dehydration, fatigue, and general discombobulation affect your mood and appearance. Makes it hard to shine, you know? Some cheeses travel thousands of miles to get here, crammed into boxes in shipping containers, tossing on the seas for weeks at a time. Then they cross the US in trucks. By the time they hit the cave, these cheeses need some real TLC to rebalance their moisture levels and heal their cracks. Depending on type, they get daily washes and rubdowns, brushing, flipping, and even rind support. (Yep, I call the supports “bras.”) Most of those fatigued, flagging cheeses can be brought back to vibrancy, thanks to the Cave.
“What else is going on in the Cheese Cave?” I’m so glad you asked! One of the most exciting things about the cave is that it allows us to mature cheeses ourselves. Caputo’s House Aged Cheddar is one of our more exciting endeavors. It’s a Utah original. Beehive Cheese Company delivers us the baby cheeses, just one or two days old, which we butter and bandage wrap, then mature for at least ten months. I’ll offer you a taste in December… But! You can taste amazing Caputo’s~aged cheeses now! We’ve recently released a “Reserve” line of our popular Basque cheeses from the French Pyrenées. Ossau-Iraty Reserve and Chabrin Reserve are aged here at Caputo’s for a minimum of six months. That extra time results in brilliant, intense flavor, with a crystalline bite that still manages to melt on the tongue. Tomme de Basque Vache Reserve will be out in July.
It’s easy to rhapsodize (okay, brag) about Caputo’s Cheese Cave, but the proof is in the paste. Come on down! I promise that if I hear you chuckle, I’ll give you something good to eat.