I have now sold cheese as a cheesemonger in three different European countries: the UK, France and now Germany. Which apart from helping me brush up my language skills has also helped me realise that just as the single ingredient milk produces thousands of different types of cheeses, the love of cheese produces a thousand different types of customers. In Berlin so far my small experience tells me that most blue cheeses and strong smelly and gooey cheeses are harder to sell than in France or the UK. The one thing though which is striking here is how many people would like their cheese to be sliced. If they do not want it sliced then they want weird cuts because, as they put it, “How am I supposed to put it on my bread otherwise?” (Ah Germans and their bread).
Now one might not see it as an issue, I however have issues with it.
Firstly, slicing cheese takes time, and if there is a queue behind you, it feels slightly impolite towards the other cheese buyers to waste their time. (You certainly have a knife at home and can slice it yourself).
Secondly, your cheese will stay fresher and will not dry as quickly if you buy it whole rather than sliced. DO NOT DISRESPECT OUR CHEESES. #
Thirdly, in case you haven’t noticed, cheese wheels come in a round shape, but people would like square or rectangular shaped slices. Now it is possible to get those nice slices but that means that you have to destroy your cheese/rind ratio. Basically customers asking for sliced cheese will get a good cheese rind ratio (i.e., less rind and more cheese) and leave other customers with a worse cheese/rind ratio. If that does not make sense ask somebody with a geometry degree to explain it to you. Anyhow, that offends my French sense of equality and my German sense of order. Aaahhh it felt good to let this out of my chest.
Oh yes and I forgot fourthly, my wife keeps on buying sliced cheese in supermarkets, she finds it handy… Aaaarggghhhh the things you accept for love. And sometimes (but let’s keep it a secret) I admit that I have bought sliced cheese in supermarkets too. I then have to look around guiltily and make sure nobody recognised me. But this cheese is not for me, I swear my wife and kid made me do it. OK I admit I ate some too. Oh my dear Cheesus, please forgive me because I have sinned and have bought you packed and sliced, and then (h)ate you.
In the next episode of “How I betrayed Cheesus”, I will tell you of the time I ate babybel and enjoyed it.