Kiwis taught me my passion for cheese

Thomas Metin with corsican cheese
Thomas Métin shows a Corsican cheese

October is a great time to eat fresh goats’ cheese (as well as spring) and cheese expert Thomas Métin, who discovered his love for French cheese in New Zealand, passes on some tips... such as why you should not keep cheese on the fridge top shelf

A former basketball player who fell in love with cheese has set up what he says is now the only cheese maturing cellar on the Riviera, which enables him to sell his cheeses in the best  condition and maturity.

Thomas Métin, 39, picked his cheese shop premises in narrow, bustling Rue du Marché in Vence’s old town, partly because it had a lower floor ideally- suited to installing a cave d’affinage.

It took some time to set up his cellar, to the right hygienic norms and temperature and humidity, he said. “Finding the best way to mature a cheese, from young to old, is a science. I’m still learning a lot, even now.

“For example you don’t mature a cows’ milk cheese in the same way as a goats’ milk one, and you don’t treat a cooked, pressed cheese like Comté or Gruyère like you treat a goats’ cheese or Camembert.”

The right humidity is essential to keep the cheese moist and to develop the mould in the blue varieties, he said; for example at least 90% humidity for harder cows’ milk cheeses and 80% for the soft goats’ cheese.

He keeps his cheeses between 8-10C, comparable to a fridge’s vegetable drawer – which is why you should keep cheeses there, not at the top where it is colder (“if it’s too ...

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