The fourth annual Cheesemonger Invitational takes place in New York on Saturday, June 29.
What is this Cheesemonger Invitational you speak of?
It’s the cheese equivalent of a rap battle. And by cheese, we don’t mean cringe-worthy lyrics, but the tasty milk-based foodstuff.
This rowdy hipster event pits cheese shop owners and cheese makers against one another in an attempt to identify America’s top cheese aficionado.
How does the competition work?
Fifty-five mongers from across the US (there are entrants from as far away as Hawaii and California) have been invited to compete.
Entrants are subject to eight separate tests, with several competitors cut at each stage. The early rounds take place behind closed doors, before the main event opens to the paying public at 6:30pm.
The contest kicks off with a tough written test, with questions such as “what is the PH of raw cow’s milk?”
A blind taste test follows, and entrants are expected to select the milk type, age (defined in 2 month increments), pasteurisation status, country of origin, style/type and name of each cheese.
Later rounds are designed to entertain the crowd. In one contestants are given some cheese and asked to nail in two cuts a quarter of a pound. In another, they need to wrap and tape as many pieces of cheese as they can in 30 seconds.
Who came up with this event?
The Larkin is a family-run speciality food importer warehouse. Adam Moskowitz, the son of founder Joe, came up with the idea in 2009. He doubles up as the event’s charismatic, bigmouth MC.
Where’s the Larkin?
It’s in a desolate corner of Long Island City, Queens, New York City. Round the block from P.S.1.
How much is it to go?
A general admission ticket is $60 – crucially it’s an all you can eat and drink deal. The $100 VIP tickets gets you in one hour early, first crack at the food and, mostly importantly, makes you a judge in round three of the competition, where you get to taste the entrants’ cheese pairings.
Why should I go to next year’s?
There’s an incredible array of cheeses to taste – cooked and uncooked. There will be fondue. There will be raclette. There will be grilled cheese sandwiches.
They’re all sorts of cured meats, breads and other cheese-friendly accompaniments to get your chops round too. Not to mention beer and wines by the barrel load.
By some accounts, the event ends up morphing into an out-of-control warehouse dance party.
Like cheese? Check out our 3 best places in the world to eat … cheese.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…
(The yummy featured image is by Ben Sutherland)