I joined the Woodlands Family in 1989. From that day to this, cheese has been a growing passion. Cheese is exciting! It’s beautiful to look at, to taste and to experience. Over the years I have learned volumes from slicing it daily. The interaction between customers, myself, and the cheese is an amazing education and opportunity to share my love with others. There is nothing like tasting a cheese for the first time, from feeling the texture as it’s sliced and inhaling the aroma for the first time to that first taste. When a cheese is exceptional, that first introduction to it is magical. This intangible quality is balanced by the very tangible chemistry and methodology necessary to the cheese making process. I continue my education in all aspects of the cheese world via many avenues, but am especially proud to be a member of The American Cheese Society and to travel to the Society Conference every year. I get to meet cheese makers from across the country and am able to attend various seminars from wine and beer pairings, to cheese chemistry courses. I have attended dozens of lectures and had the opportunity to hear from the cheese makers themselves about their passions and processes, to ask questions and learn on a one on one basis with some of the most creative and innovative minds in the cheese world today.
One of the best parts of crisscrossing the country at these events is having an opportunity to meet up with local cheese producers. Even though they live and work in my own backyard, I sometimes only get to connect with them at the Conference. In addition, I always visit a creamery or two that is local to that year’s event. Last year, I and others actually helped make a batch of cheddar at Grafton Village Cheese Co. in Vermont that will be released next year as a two year cheddar.
Renewing local connections is an important part of my job and one that I take great pleasure from. The Bay Area is bursting with great local cheeses and cheesemakers and I’m proud to carry as many as I can get my hands on. On a wider scale, I’m very excited that in November of 2016 we will be taking part in Adopt an Alp. This annual program was begun to showcase and support smaller, family cheese makers who wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to have their cheese featured in the Bay Area. We will pair up with one Alpine cheese maker and exclusively carry their cheese for the entire month. I invite you to come in and try our adoptee this November.
What is cheese without crackers? In addition to the hundreds of cheese from specialty to everyday, from around the corner to around the world, we carry broad variety of crackers from near and far. Want to elevate your cheese experience above the ordinary, browse our array of jams, fruit pastes, honeys, and nuts that compliment your favorite cheese with just the right accent.
New to the department are cheese boards, knives and accessories that join our books and magazines as durable goods to enhance your cheese enjoyment. Find the perfect gift, hostess or otherwise, for your cheese loving friends. Wish to continue your own cheese education, The Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins is a must read, but the best way to learn is to try new things. Do you love cheese? Then you’re in the right place. My place: The Woodlands Cheese Department.
We carry cheeses from Bellwether Farms, Cowgirl Creamery, Marin French, Nicasio Valley, Point Reyes Farmstead, and Redwood Hill to name a few. Plus many local seasonal producers such as Bleating Heart.