Cheese-lovers, lend us your ears. Without affinage, your favorite cheeses would cease to exist. Actually, they would have never existed in the first place. Why? Because cheese is to affinage as wine is to aging.
Many cheeses’ signature nuances are developed during the aging process. A young cheese may lack the funk, runny texture and color that you’re going for. Affineurs are people who essentially babysit cheese while it ages. They make sure the wheels are breathing properly by flipping them every now and then, and take care of rind-washing, or applying coats of various booze to the cheese’s outer layers to enhance its flavors (and, presumably, get it drunk). The knowledge they gain from living amongst their wares is used to improve future generations of cheese.
Use today’s Word of the Day: 5 French Cheeses to Try Right Now