#TBT: That Time I went To The Cheesemonger Invitational

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It was a rainy Saturday last summer, and shit was about to get real. I had purchased a ticket (discounted, because of a personal connection) to the Annual Cheesemonger invitational.

I got off the train in Long Island City, Queens, and walked about 20 minutes to the Larkin Cold Storage building where the event would be held. Despite the insistent precipitation, the line went around the block.

My friend was waiting anxiously; she’s a major cheese lover as well, and was my original tip-off about the event. Another friend of ours, who works at Saxelby Cheesemongers at Essex Market, would be throwing her hat in the ring for competition. After several rounds of various Cheese related tasks, a winner would be crowned.

We walked through the doors and could hardly believe our eyes. Before us lay mounds of glorious cheese, as well as endless beer, cured meats, chips, jams, and countless other fantastic goodies.

The first event I beheld was the “Perfect Bite” in which contestants had been tasked to concoct their own signature amuse-bouche—a cheese of their choice paired with the most complimentary accoutrement. We traversed the room, tasting our hearts’ content of compact little morsels of thoughtful combinations.

The festivities continued; it was a blur of cheese cutting, pairing, wrapping, rapping (yes, rapping; there was a man in a cow-suit with a microphone who freestyled cheese related wraps). Hype people even threw pieces of cheese into the crowd–and I caught one!

Ultimately, our friend who we were rooting for didn’t win. But it was a truly magical day nonetheless; I came empty handed, and I left with a purse full of free beer and a belly full of cheese. Not bad for a rainy day.

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