This past month, the lovely team at Crown Finish Caves invited us at BKLYN Larder to come check out their operations at their legendary caves in Crown Heights. Never ones to miss out on cheese-conversation, Mandy (our beloved proprietor), Grayson (the executive chef), Amanda (our purchasing manager, aka “Pops”), and I quickly headed over, along with some of our Larder made Spiced Nuts and Olive Oil cake in tow.
We were greeted by Caroline, the Sales Director at CFC and our guide for the evening. We started the tour at their main office, which had a ceiling to floor length of chalkboard, all covered in cheese names and dates. “Yeah, we’re thinking at some point the entire office is just going to be covered in chalkboard paint,” Caroline laughed, “We just keep coming up with stuff to write down!”. After briefly greeting the owner and founder, Benton Brown, we headed down towards the caves.
On our way, we stopped at this beautiful brick corridor, which, Caroline explained, was mainly used once a month to hold small concerts, where cheese and beer is offered. “The tickets usually sell out in an hour,” Caroline said, “It’s a lot of fun”. The wine-red brick walls and rounded arches offers a certain amniotic quality- there is a warm red glow, and voices echo down the hallway. It’s difficult to imagine that just 30-feet above is a bustling Brooklyn street. This corridor just one example of how the space at CFC is utilized; many of their other rooms are rented out to artists and other business creatives.
We then headed to a prep room, where we geared up in protective wear and prepared to enter the cheese aging cave. Caroline slid open a heavy metal door, and we walked into the rows of resting cheeses.
Caroline walked us through the aisles of aging cheese, pausing at times to elaborate on the unique qualities of a particular wheel, gesticulating emphatically at the shelves and encouraging us to take a closer look.
"You guys came on an exciting day!" Caroline exclaimed, "We're preparing for a cheese competition...We have to decide which wheel we'll send today". A small cart was wheeled into the cave to serve as our impromptu dining table. One of the cheese caretakers cored into several different wheels of cheese, and the tasting began.
Wheel one was decidedly too fruity, while wheel three seemed overly mellow. Wheel three, with a slight funk and balanced acidity, was deemed just right. The tasting cart was wheeled away, and we followed Caroline down yet another aisle, in hopes of taking a couple wheels with us back to the Larder.
After picking the prettiest lookin' wheel of Pawlet off the shelves, Caroline taught us how to wrap the wheel with some beautifully hypnotizing pleats.
And with that, we headed back to BKLYN Larder with full bellies and two handsome wheels of cheese in tow. A huge thank you to Caroline and her team at Crown Finish Caves for the lovely and wonderfully engaging tour! We love you!