It's happening this month only. And had I found out about it sooner, I'd have given better notice.
Here's the deal: At participating cheese shops in New York and Seattle, buy select American cheeses for 40% off retail price everyday.
By nature, good cheese is expensive. But this is seriously the best deal on cheese that I've heard about. Ever. And so even though you might be learning about it late (my fault, sorry), it's worth jumping on this bandwagon for the rest of October.
The details are simple: Purchase a "passport" at participating retailers for $10, all of which goes to benefit the American Cheese Education Foundation. And each day, purchase a different American cheese for 40% off retail price. And each retailer offers a different selection of discounted cheese, so ostensibly, you could jump around to your favorite cheese shops and purchase a bevy of varied wedges. I seriously think this is genius.
Kurt Beecher Dammeier, of Beecher's Cheese, started the concept, and its aim is not only to benefit the ever-important education arm of the American Cheese Society, but also to highlight the diversity of some of our country's greatest cheeses by making them more available across the board.
A cheese that may be prohibitive at $22/lb becomes magically more manageable at $13.20/lb. There's your $10 passport in savings right there. And that's only your first purchase.
And the cheeses are great, too. Don't expect the offerings to be the runts of the American cheese portfolio. Imagine buying Cypress Grove's Humboldt Fog, Vermont Butter and Cheese's Coupole, Rogue Creamery's Rogue River Blue, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, and Haystack Mountain's Red Cloud for 40% off. 40 ain't no 15, people. How often do you see something for 40% off, really?
And then there's the esoteric gems that you might normally turn a blind eye to, but what a passport might introduce you to. Excellent cheeses from smaller dairies like Lazy Lady, Blue Ledge Farm, Calkins Creamery, and Nettle Meadow Farm become instantly on your radar.
What's unfortunate is that you can really only participate if you live in New York or Seattle. Expect to see the program at the following retailers:
And find more information on the specific cheeses on offer at the Passport to American Cheese Month website.
But the good news is that this is the first year, and it's sure only to spread further. It's such an excellent way to get turned onto new cheeses, too. If you've ever been in a cheese rut, this is the ultimate remedy.
And realize that this deal is going on only for the month of October, to celebrate American Cheese Month. There are 19 days left. Only you know how much cheese you can consume in that time. Needless to say, make each day count.
Nora Singley is an avid lover of cheese, and used to be a cheesemonger and the Director of Education at Murray's Cheese Shop in New York City, where she continues to teach cheese classes for the public. She is currently a TV Chef on The Martha Stewart Show.
Related: Ready to Melt: How to Make American Cheese