At the Cheese marketplace, the long street which links the Italian and international markets is dedicated to affineurs and selezionatori.
Two foreign terms, one French and one Italian. But what do affineur and selezionatori do?
The concept of the affineur as a profession is a relatively recent one, born in France. The affineur not only knows the different types of cheese, but the territory and the producers who make them, too. They establish a trusted relationship with producers and buy cheese directly from them and, thanks to their technological know-how, mature and refine cheeses, giving them a new identity. The affineur imprints his soul on the cheese.
Affineurs check seasonal environmental parameters, and apply a series of manual treatments ranging from periodic turning to brushing, scrubbing with cloths soaked in water and salt, and in some cases smoking. Cheese is a living organism that is constantly evolving and requires constant control during conservation: great affineurs know that, and care about finding the ideal conditions for aging so that they arrive to the consumer in optimum condition.
To describe the role of the breeder, we chose the Italian term selezionatori. The breeder, through their experience and knowledge of the territory in which they operate, selects cheeses from producers. If necessary they age them, and promote them to consumers. The cheeses selected by a breeder have a unique identity, to be discovered through tasting.
So who are the affineurs and selezionatori at Cheese? Here’s a complete list by country:
Kaasaffineurs Van Tricht A
Sheridans Cheesemongers S
Fromagerie L’Amuse S
Neal’s Yard Dairy A
United States of America
US Cheese Group A