Big Cheese: Michael Perlmeter Writes about His Cheese Shop, Molto Formaggio
With over 15,000 cheeses for us to choose from that are either made domestically or imported, the answer to the question is: we taste a lot of cheese. My partner, Christy Martinez, and I travel extensively to try and access the best cheeses available to us for the shop. During a typical year, one or both of us will travel overseas 2 or 3 times to the cheese, food, and wine shows, as well as 3 shows each year in the United States.
We try to keep about 250 cheeses in the store most of the year and will increase that to over 300 in the fourth quarter. While that is a small percentage of what is available to a retailer, we have to select both the common and unique cheeses that please the palate of our consumers.
The most intriguing part of our job is selecting unique, handcrafted, artisan cheeses that are not available to big retailers. We base our selections on milk type, seasonality, and the ability to pair the cheese to wine and other food products. In the common cheese area (cheddars, bries, Parmigiano Reggiano, and pecorinos), we are more concerned with the quality of the product rather that its price. We think discerning consumers who take the time and effort to shop specialty retail foods deserve to have the highest quality of selections.
We are tremendous supporters of specialty retail foods. Search out shops in the area like Jimmy’s, Rex’s Seafood, Holy Ravioli, T.J.’s Seafood, Scardello, Crème de la Cookie, Rudolf’s, and the many other retailers who have put their hearts, souls, and investments into increasing the quality of foods available to the most discerning shoppers.
Michael Perlmeter is a former investment advisor who retired from that field in 1999 to pursue learning more about the culinary arts. With his 2 partners, he opened Molto Formaggio in 2008, and is fulfilling the dream of changing consumer habits from big box grocery to specialty food retailing.