I enjoy the look on people’s faces when ‘I have a cheese cave in my garage’ casually pops up in conversation. Sadly, it is not like the limestone caverns of Roquefort or a recommissioned train tunnel in the French countryside or an old lagering tunnel of a Brooklyn brewery. Instead it is an insulated room with a modified air conditioner, fluoro green wind sock and a humidifier.
From the outside the cave looks like a cold room. While it is not traditional or hip, it is a great space to mature cheese. I know it is working because every time the door is opened I am hit by a distinctive milky musty yeasty smell that is common to all cheese caves.
Inside the cave is a room of my own. One that I designed, help build and modify to get the right climate for maturing cheese. An environment that is perfect for moulds, yeasts and microbes to grow. These critters are important to help form the rind on the cheese, break down proteins and most importantly develop the flavour.
The main inspiration for the cave came from what I learnt from Laurent Mons and Sue Sturman at Academie Opus Caseus in St Haon le Chatel, France. Theory is one thing, but applying it to a real project is another. The brains and skills of friends and tradies made it all happen. You all know who you are, but a special thanks goes to Geoff, Alex, Trevor, the water filter guys and the bloke who lives with my obsession and parks his car on the street.