The Cheesemonger Invitational’s eight rounds include every stage of cheese know-how that is expected of a well-refined cheesemonger. For the preliminaries, the Invitational has three rounds. First contestants will take a “curd nerd” multiple-choice exam testing their cheese knowledge and facts. Next up is the taste test where contestants sample a bite size piece of cheese. Contestants will have to correctly name the type of milk, category (fresh, bloomy rind, semi-soft, blue, etc.), age within a two-month range, as well as the country of origin. Not only do these cheeseheads need to know their cheeses they will also need to be a great salesperson. This will be demonstrated by explaining a type of cheese (predetermined in advance by judges), cut a sample, show a creative display sign for the cheese, and rewrap it.
If all that wasn’t enough, the top ten constants will compete in five additional challenges including an introduction of how they fell in love with cheese. The finalists will display their handling skills such as cutting a quarter pound piece of cheese without the use of a scale and then perfectly wrap up a quarter pound piece of cheese in paper. The final challenge is a true testament of cheese passion. The deciding challenge allows contestants to show off their creative pairing talents by preparing a cheese slate of 15 cheese pieces for the 15 judges. Cheesemongers are able to bring their own signature ingredient for this challenge whether it is beer, bread, chutney, or anything else that pairs well with cheese.
For the amateur cheesemongers in the audience your ticket includes all the food and drinks you can devour. Spectators will enjoy foods prepared by last year’s winner, Oregon’s Steve Jones. One of NYC’s best mixologists, James Moreland, has created three signature cocktails for the event, an Electric Rum Punch, an Old School cocktail mixed with FlipFlop Rum, and the Chihuahua with Inocente Tequila. DJ Aaron Kirtz will provide music for the Cheesemonger Invitational with the after party music provided by DJ Ron Like Hell.
For contestant information, directions, and to purchase tickets, visit their website!