FORT COLLINS, COLO. - When James Danforth commented on one of our Facebook posts, we knew we had to talk to him about his job.
Danforth is an American Cheese Society certified cheesemonger.
A cheesemonger is a lot like a sommelier of wine, or a cicerone of beer. Your job is to buy, sell, taste and know a whole lot about cheese.
"You don't get in shape like this just sitting around. You do have to eat," Danforth jokes.
He's been a professional cheese guy for the last 17 years. It's a job that requires artistry, creativity and a willingness to try new food.
"It's just a joy. I love it. I love being a cheesemonger," he told Next during his shift at King Soopers in Fort Collins.
Danforth had to complete at least 4,000 working hours with cheese to become certified. That's followed by a rigorous test. A cheesemonger has to know the right temperatures to store cheeses, the breeds of cows, sheep and goats that produce them (as well as their lactation cycles), pairings for each kind of cheese, and even know the cheese market - meaning you know what stores should charge.
Each day, Danforth helps customers select cheese.
"I often get, 'What? I didn't know that was a (job). And that's great because it starts a conversation really well."
Drunken Goat is one of Danforth's favorites. He describes it as sweet, creamy and boozy.
The American Cheese Association will have its annual conference in Denver this year, Danforth told us. He’s hoping to play a major role in it.
"Every job is a job. Every job has its down points. But I'm very blessed, and I've worked really hard to get this, and to achieve this position," he says. "I never thought I'd be this happy working in a grocery store."
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