I first met Emmanuel in Torino, Italy in the fall 2011 when he hosted a small dinner party I attended. The restaurant was down a small street within walking distance of our hotel and we dined outside in the unseasonably warm, humid late evening. Dinner was served family style in several courses (and exquisite… of course). That I was enjoying Italian food in Italy made the experience even more pleasurable. We were in Italy for the Bra Cheese Festival, my first trip to Italy.
In 2013 Emmanuel and I dined together in Madison, Wisconsin; again, outside in the warm, humid late evening. (We really have to meet in a cooler, drier climate sometime…)
Emmanuel graciously agreed to answer a few questions for my website:
Briefly tell me about yourself. How did you “come to cheese”? When did you realize you were a cheese geek?
“I am a French guy, married to a lovely American, Lisa and we have a son called Alex who is 12 years old. I moved to the USA on St Patrick’s Day 1997. I was “born” into cheese as both my grand fathers were cheese makers. One in Burgundy (Epoisses and Pierre-qui-Vire) and one in Franche Comte (Emmentaler, Comte, Vacherin Mont-D’or, Morbier).
I consume huge quantities of cheese and the stinkier the better.”
Where do you work and what is your job title? Describe a “typical” work day.
“I am the VP of Retail Sales for Emmi Roth USA. My typical day consist of finding worthy customers for our cheeses 🙂 and managing a team of 6 awesome sales people.”
Do you have a favorite cheese or type? What would be your perfect pairing with this cheese?
“I loooove many different types of cheeses: Just to name a few: Camembert de Normandie, Epoisses, Gruyere, Comte, Vacherin Mont D’Or, Roquefort, Reblochon, Ossau Iraty, Alsatian Munster, Chaource, Humboldt Fog, Roth Private Reserve, Grand Cru Surchoix, Aged Cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano, anything goat. In fact I don’t think there are any cheeses I dislike.”
Raw vs. Pasteurized? Does it matter? What difference does it make in the final product?
“Yes it actually matters a lot to me: I believe raw milk cheeses to be more interesting because like fruits they have a seasonality and two cheeses of the same kind made with raw milk can have a huge difference in taste. A difference that will reflect the terroir, the climate and the season. Even the color is going to be different. I also like pasteurized cheeses but there is very little surprise (good or bad) as the taste, texture and flavor tends to be more homogenized. I enjoy tasting the grass and the animal in raw milk cheeses. That makes for a more wholesome experience.” **
Should the US create a system similar the European scheme of protecting, controlling and/or regulating specific cheeses?
“I am kind of torn on the subject. Being French I am very proud of my cheese heritage and the fact we have been able to keep for generation the manufacturing of amazing PDO cheeses; however I am also concerned with this type of “protectionism” as it kind of stifles innovation, the birth of new cheeses, new concepts and new method of production. It creates a conservative vision of cheese making versus a progressive one. I am by nature more of a progressive. This is why I really enjoy attending the ACS convention and being the witness to the American Artisan Cheese maker movement. I particularly love when Americans make original cheeses instead of simply copying European cheeses.” ##
Tell me about one of your “cheese journeys”. Was it traveling for pleasure or maybe “on the hunt” for an obscure cheese you just had to taste?
“I have had quite a few great cheese journeys but the one I really enjoyed the most were my visits of the Gruyere Cheese caves of Kaltbach in Switzerland; my private visit with Jean Berthaut of the new Epoisses plant just outside of Epoisses in Burgundy and my great visit of the Parmigiano Reggiano region with my friend Liz Thorpe.”
Please share with me one fun, non-cheesy fact about you.
“I used to be a Certified National French Guide / Interpreter when I lived in Paris.”
If you could do one thing, anything, all day long, what would it be?
“I already do it: eating cheese of course!!!”
** Marcella The Cheesemonger List of Raw Milk Cheeses
## Marcella The Cheesemonger List of European Protected Cheeses
Interviews will continue throughout 2015… sometimes, they will be “stand-alone” and sometimes they will be presented as round-table discussions with several Cheese Professionals answering the same question. Those participating include Cheesemakers, ACS CCPs™, Cheesemongers and Cheese Professionals and Experts who contribute to this Wonderful World we call “Cheese”.
List of all 2015 Cheese Professionals Bios.
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