Cheese can be scary. Maybe not in a Psycho shower scene sort of way, but narrowing down three varieties out of hundreds can definitely be an overwhelming experience.
Thankfully, South Slope has Alice Piacenza, owner of The Ploughman (438 7th Avenue), to guide us through the sexy world of cheese.
We had no idea that cheese could be sexy until Alice illustrated her philosophy.
“To me,” she explained, “what makes a cheese sexy is if it’s a little funky in the back of the mouth, if it’s slightly soft, and then if there’s something really surprising there at the end, it makes you go, okay, that is a sexy cheese.”
The Ploughman exudes a relaxed and casual air from the moment you walk in the door.
“The shop has a very refined taste, but there’s a real hard edge to it,” she told us. “It’s pretty rock and roll. We play the music just a little bit shy of too loud. People come in and start dancing. We joke around. The vibe of the store is to just let your hair down and have fun with these very sublime and delicious things that we have.”
This atmosphere, coupled with Alice’s innate ability to make cheese exploration accessible to everyone, is what makes The Ploughman special.
“There’s a lingo, when you’re talking to people about cheese, that makes them feel more comfortable,” she said. “Do you like things that are funky? Do you like things that are stinky? Do you want it sharp? Do you want it crumbly? There are all these different words that elicit a very, very specific response to people and their palates.”
It might not happen right away, but Alice believes that there is a cheese out there for everyone and she’s ready to help you find it. “I’ve sometimes tasted 14 different cheeses with people,” she said, “before they declared, ‘That’s the one'”.
Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving Day feast is the perfect time to start expanding your cheese horizons. Check out Alice’s recommendations for branching out in our video.