The Official Announcement: The August Joy of Cheese Events

The Joy of Cheese August Events: Soften

It does seem that instead of a summer punctuated by heat waves, we’re having a heat wave punctuated by occasional summer weather.  So let’s beat the heat and soften.  In an especially ambitious series of programs in August The Joy of Cheese will focus on softer cheeses.

Wait a second, it is swimsuit season and we’re focusing on luxurious, seductive, soft cheese?  Well, yes, consider this:  most soft cheeses are lower in fat than most of their harder counterparts.  What?!  Yes, it’s true and this is not the raving of a lunatic cheesemonger who makes some of his money with roving cheese parties.  It’s in the pages of most cornerstone books on cheese, but it’s the most poorly disseminated aspect of cheese.

Work with me for a moment here.  Water has no fat.  The more a cheese is made up of water the less fat it will have.  What makes soft cheeses soft is their higher moisture content.  What makes this subject unnecessarily obscure is that most cheeses are labeled by their fat percentage.  Unfortunately that isn’t a percentage expressed as a fixed whole, i.e. it isn’t a percentage of fat to the whole of the cheese.  It’s a percentage that expresses the ratio of fat in dry matter.  Sooooo, if a cheese has three parts of fat to four parts of dry matter it’s percentage will 75% where as if a cheese as ten parts of fat 20 parts dry matter it’s percentage will be 50%.  Yet the latter cheese could have more overall fat, if it has less moisture.  Call me or e-mail me and we’ll go over this further if you wish.  I’m not making this up.  It’s on page 23 of Max McCalman’s latest book, Mastering Cheese (Potter); it’s in other books too.   And it is one reason (besides beating the heat, that is) that we’re focusing on soft cheeses this month.


A new Joy of Cheese series, Joy of Cheese Workshop, debuts this month (08.12 to be precise) at a new venue, Culturefix (9 Clinton St.).  Instead of our usual fun survey of cheese, this will function more like a seminar where we explore issues in greater depth.  We’re going to start by discussing an issue close to my heart—how to shop for cheese (I’ve worked at eleven different retailers during my 26 years in the biz).

Anyway, more about the tastings.

August 3rd at 7:30 PLEASE NOTE NEW START TIME at d.b.a Bklyn, 113 N. 7th St. Softies and Saisons.

Saisons, farmhouse ales with lower alcohol content and fruity overtones at the finish, have become all the rage this summer and at this tasting, we will focus on seven of them with sumptuous softer cheeses to match.   I’ll talk about the cheese and Ray Deter, owner of d.b.a. will discuss the brews.  Tickets are $25 and available via Brown Paper Tickets,

I also accept cash at the door, but advance notice is nice since I’m the prep guy too.

August 10th at 7:30 at Stella, 213 Front St.: Buttery n’ mostly Belgian

At this tasting we will focus on even softer cheeses and pair them with mostly Belgian brews from the Stella Manhattan Bistro menu.  Overall we’ll sample nine amazingly buttery cheeses and pair them with five great Belgian beers (though one German or American might sneak into the mix).  I’ll discuss the cheese; Maggie Fuller will discuss the beers.  Tickets are $25 and available via BPT,

I also accept cash at the door but advance notice is nice since I’m the prep guy.

August 12th at 7:30 at Culturefix, 9 Clinton St. Joy of Cheese Workshop Presents the Consumer’s Guide.

In the first of a series of informal seminars, we will look at the difference between lowbrow, middlebrow and highbrow retailers of cheese and how that plays out in soft cheese.  Our host will be a dynamic new gallery/café/beer and wine bar, Culturefix right near Houston St. and Clinton. Tickets are $25 plus whatever you drink and available via Brown Paper Tickets.

Cash at the door works here too; just let me know to expect you.

August 17th at 7:30 at The Clerkenwell, 49 Clinton St.: Luscious

We’ve done soft and softer.  At this tasting we will present the eight or nine softest cheeses in New York City.  The Amy’s Bread baguettes will get a workout on this one.   We will work our way through nine or ten cheeses; attendees will drink whatever they please.  Tickets are $25 plus whatever you drink and available via BPT,

And the cash at the doors works yet again; just let me know to expect you!

As always, I can be reached at  Thanks for your support

-Martin Johnson


About jmartin437

I've worked in and around the world of high end cheese for 27 years. I've been everything from a department manager who hired and fired and trained staffs to a weekend warrior who shows up ties on an apron the middle of a rush and talks to customers and cleans up the place. I enjoy it all, and I especially like my current situation conducting informal seminars about cheese at area bars and in class at the 92nd St. Y. The current schedule is always up at In addition I conduct private events that are perfect to lead off birthday parties for foodies and sommeliers and also they make great entertainment for corporate team building events and associates meetings at law firms. In addition, I've been a freelance journalist for 27 years. Currently my profiles of leading musicians and filmmakers appear in the Wall Street Journal and I also wrote about sports for the Root, and for five loooong years, which included the entirety of the Isiah Thomas Knicks era, I wrote about the NBA for the New York Sun. I enjoyed writing about basketball so much that I now do it here at rotations for free.
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One Response to The Official Announcement: The August Joy of Cheese Events

  1. max mccalman says:

    Thanks for referencing my latest book. Add to your points: there are nutrients in those soft cheeses (as well as most of the harder ones) that help you to metabolize the fats that you consume, that satisfy you, that help you to moderate your appetite; and there are other nutrients in cheese that are pre-cursors to melanin to help you defend yourself against the sun’s harmful rays while you’re out there showing off your slim figure that can be credited to your diet that includes plenty of soft-cheese. No fooling!
    Spread the curd.

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