Written by Jenna Giannasio, a member of Murray’s Wholesale Team
I recently had the privilege of attending the American Cheese Society conference, where I took the Certified Cheese Professional exam. The test was really challenging, and I’ll be on the edge of my seat until I get the results in a few weeks!
The Murray’s candidates are uniquely positioned to be prepared for this test. We have weekly conference calls, facilitated by the wonderful Training & Curriculum Manager, Lauren Toth. We have a very thorough text created just for us, replete with quizzes, a mid term and a final. Just like college, but tastier! I did a lot of studying with my buddy and co-worker, Eric, and that was also useful. And fun! There may have been beer involved…
The first couple of days in Richmond were all about studying, quizzing each other and, of course, eating! We discovered a fantastic Jewish deli while in town, which offered us delicious sustenance to help us get our study on. That and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
The test itself was a challenging three hours, followed by a very tasty reception sponsored by Emmi Roth. The next day, the real fun started! There were a number of amazing workshops for everyone from affineurs to mongers. My favorite of these was a workshop on Virginia fermentation. We got to try pairings of Virginia cheeses, meats and beers together to get a real sense of terroir. My absolute favorite thing was Grayson by Meadow Creek– a long time favorite – which was specially washed for the conference with a local Virginia beer called Singel, from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. The spicy hop aromatics of the Singel were a perfect foil for the unctuous and rich Grayson.
By far, the most fantastic thing about being at ACS this year was being present when the phenomenal Stockinghall Cheddar was announced as ACS’s 2019 Best of Show. It was Murray’s first Best of Show, and very well deserved. We are always proud of our cheese collaborations and the delicious wheels we cave age. Stockinghall, though, is OUR cheese. All of us from Murray’s felt like proper rock stars that night!
It was a wonderful experience to be surrounded by so many fantastic people from our industry. I look forward to going again!