THE CHEESE GROTTO. A HUMIDOR FOR YOUR CHEESE.

Cheese Grotto

 

Cheese.  That uniquely adaptable and multifarious food that can make you weak in the knees and big in the ass.  And you don’t care, because it’s cheese.  Ask someone who’s lactose intolerant what they’re likely to endure a night of belly pain and gurgling for and 9 times out of 10 they’ll answer with CHEESE.

It’s no wonder cheese is the most stolen item in the world.

That’s right.  According to a 2011 survey it wasn’t drugs, cars, cash or computers that was the most sought after item among thieves.  It was cheese.  The reasoning behind this is threefold: cheese is expensive, cheese is easy to steal and cheese is almost universally loved.

At the moment cheese happens to be the love of my life.  The main reason for this of course is because the man I love is working as an architect from his home office in a French farmhouse. Also he is a figment of my imagination.  So for now it’s me and cheese.

I have to tell you it’s even been difficult to get cheese to commit to anything more than a 2 week relationship before it goes bad.  I tend to either suffocate it, sour it or let it get stale.

Not anymore.  I have just taken my relationship with cheese to the next level.  I have a Cheese Grotto.

 

Cheese Grotto

It’s basically a home cheese cave.  Or a cheese humidor.  It is a high end item for people who are very, very serious about their back fat.  I mean cheese.

 

Cheese Grotto

This story dates back to last December when a friend of mine sent me a link to a new product that was soon going to be released into the world.  The Cheese Grotto.  I was stunned by its beauty and brilliance.  Seriously stunned.  But it was Christmas and I was busy and I kind of forgot about the Cheese Grotto. There was just too much going on at the time.

Then a month or so ago I got a random email from someone named Jessica Sennett.  She introduced herself as the inventor of a cheese storage product and she wondered if I’d like to test one out.  It was called the Cheese Grotto.

Um.  Yes.  YES.  Only an idiot would say no to that kind of offer. My Cheese Grotto was coming home!!

Cheese Grotto

 

This Cheese Grotto makes me insanely happy every single time I Iook at it because it’s beautiful and because it works.

Cheese Grotto

The Cheese Grotto works by keeping a cheese friendly humidity and temperature inside it with the help of a clay brick and venting holes at the back of it.

The coolest thing is you don’t even have to wrap the cheese.  It just sits there out in the open looking great.  It’s FANTASTIC.

 

Cheese Grotto

You want some cheese?  No problem.  Just slide out one of the bamboo shelves and you’ve got an instant cheese tray.  I don’t know if I’m really doing my love of this thing justice.

Yes it’s a high end item.  Yes that means it’s expensive.  Yes, that’s also what makes it feel special.  Like that special feeling you get when you wear diamonds or expensive clothing.  Only it’s expensive clothing filled with CHEESE.

(The whole point of this thing by the way is that it keeps cheese fresh for much, MUCH longer than anything else.  Weeks longer, and in some cases months)

Each Cheese Grotto is made to order from locally sourced, sustainable materials. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as bamboo plywood but apparently there is.  It’s called Plyboo and it’s what the Cheese Grotto is made of.  They are all assembled and finished by hand.  It you take a good look at it you can see it isn’t just a few hunks of wood nailed together.  It shows the kind of craftsmanship you don’t normally see outside of The One of a Kind craft show.  It has that kind of beauty to it.

Up until now my cheeses have been wrapped in Cheese Paper, which does a fine job (WAY better than plastic wrap or waxed paper), but not a Cheese Grotto job.

Cheese Grotto

In the past month I’ve stored 6 types of cheeses in it to see how they do.  I chose to keep the Cheese Grotto in the fridge, but you can actually store it right on your counter.

Keeping it in the fridge means your cheese will last longer than if you store it on the counter.

Let’s take a look at the stars of this show, the cheeses.

Of these 6 cheeses, 4 came from my local cheesemonger and 2 from the grocery store.  At the grocery store I grabbed some Boursin Pepper cheese and a wedge of Fontina.   Pepper cheese is great on crackers or crumbled on top of broccoli soup.  The Fontina is a superior melting cheese that gets all gooey and stringy.  I use it to make one of my MOST favourite quick recipes, Penne with Rapini with Chorizo sausage from Canadian Chef Cory Vitiello.

The Le Crottin de Chevre is a soft ripened goat cheese from Quebec that has a stink to it.  The Sainte-Maure de Touraine is also a soft ripened goat cheese, but this one is from France and has been rolled in ash.  It is an unpasteurized cheese.

The bottom two blue cheeses are delicious, strong, blue cheeses.  The Shropshire has a creamier texture than its orange colour would imply (the orange is made with a natural colouring).  And the Italian Oro Rosso is one of my favourite cheeses ever. A creamy blue cheese with some bite that’s been steeped in a sweet red wine with blueberries, currants, elderberry and more. The rind is covered in blueberries, blackberries and currants.  I eat it on thin Cranberry Pumpkin seed crackers if I have some. If not, I bite into it like an apple.

Cheese Grotto

All of the cheeses were still looking like brand new a month after I put them in the Cheese Grotto.  I noticed the Fontina was starting to get a tiny bit darker on the outside, which means it’s drying out, so I changed the humidity in the Grotto and it’s been fine since.  It’s the sort of thing you have to get a feel for.

The thing that makes me the happiest is I can actually see the cheese which makes me much more likely to pull it out and have a few hunks of it.  Which makes me much more likely to eat the entire $25 hunk of cheese before it goes bad.  The fact that  the Cheese Grotto at least doubles the shelf life of most cheeses also helps guarantee that.   That means I’m less likely to waste money and cheese.

Regular old Goat’s Cheese which normally lasts for around 7 days in the fridge before going off can last for 3 weeks, unwrapped in the Grotto.

Semi-Hard cheeses that start to go mouldy or hard (depending on what you wrap them in) after 14 days in the fridge will last for 3-6 months when allowed to breathe out in the open in the Cheese Grotto.  6 months!

And my favourite, the very expensive Blue Cheese, which normally gets weird after a week or two in the fridge, can last 2 months in the Cheese Grotto.

Yeah it’s expensive, but it’s also truly remarkable and something you’ll own for the rest of your life.  And unlike your washer or dryer, this thing will never need repairs or need to be replaced.

And unlike your imaginary boyfriend, this thing is very, very real.

*this post does contain affiliate links because I am now a proud affiliate seller of the super-fantastic Cheese Grotto.

 

65 Comments

  1. Debbie from Illinois says:

    Does a choir of angels sing when you open that little wooden door? Because that grotto is a work of art. So cool!

  2. Tina says:

    It’s beautiful! When I moved to Belgium, everyone warned me I’d gain weight because of the chocolates. No. Chocolate is meh. But cheese? Over or beside a salad? Kill me now! THAT is heaven on earth!

  3. Ralph says:

    Thanks for this,Karen.
    I will give the grotto some serious consideration since cheese is my drug of choice.

    • Karen says:

      Hey Ralph. I really can’t say enough about it. In fact I just left the kitchen this very second where I stood at the counter with my little shelf of cheese and the last bit of my Oro Rosso. I have a very emotional reaction whenever I interact with this little Cheese Grotto, lol. ~ karen!

  4. Catt-in-Kentucky says:

    That Grotto! A new thing to covet. Those amazing cheeses! I would rather have cheese than sweets any day……I am am a late-at-night covert cheese sneaker from way back. Can I keep a cheese grotto under the bed?

  5. MrsChrisSA says:

    Ooooo that is something I really really really want!!!!!

  6. Paula says:

    Yep, that’s high end. Why do you keep your eggs in the fridge?

  7. TucsonPatty says:

    That is gorgeous! I don’t eat enough different cheeses at one time to warrent this beauty, but maybe this would convince me. I tend to buy only one kind and eat it , then another…etc. I also would have to clean out the fridge to make room!

  8. J says:

    Oh Karen-I know it will only be a short amount of time before you are teaching all of us how to make a fully functional Cheese Grotto. You know how much we all love to learn stuff and make stuff, specially cool stuff that will give us bragging rights in the finest groups of foodies!

    • Lez says:

      I was thinking exactly the same thing J! I wonder if there are instructions on Google somewhere-probably! But my woodworking skills suck, unlike Karen’s!
      It’s truly gorgeous!

    • JennyW says:

      Oh, Yes ,Please! Either figure out a way to make one, or have a really great GiveAway 🙂

      • Ann Brookens says:

        Since they gave the grotto to Karen (and it costs $350), I think she might feel a bit -umm- DELICATE about making a knockoff and posting it on her blog…

  9. Erika Collins says:

    I don’t know which I covet more, the grotto or the contents!

  10. Tine Lisberg says:

    Oh, Karen – it’s af beauty.
    I would like to have one here i Denmark.
    You write, that the humidor have small holes in the back. Does your fridge smell og cheese?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tine! Tak. It is a beauty! You can control the vents in the back to either open them or close them. I had mine closed so the cheese smell was confined to the Cheese Grotto. But if you did open your vents because your Cheese Grotto was getting too humid, I imagine there would be a bit of cheese smell that would leak into the fridge if you had stinky cheeses. 🙂 ~ karen!

  11. Marna says:

    Wow, so cool! Love any and all cheeses!

  12. Kari McD says:

    a cheesemonger just opened in my neighborhood….fantastic stuff. I think I know what I want for my birthday now!
    Thanks Karen!

  13. Leah C says:

    This thing looks remarkable, but right now I’m fixated on how cute of a word ‘Plyboo’ is. 🙂

  14. Carolyn says:

    I’m curious about the cheese odors escaping the grotto and making your kitchen smell like you are standing in a damp cave?
    My husband is a freak and doesn’t like “stinky” cheese (he lumps Brie into this category…). If I buy cheese and double wrap it and place it in a Tupperware, he still claims he can smell it.
    Does this Grotto somehow contain this issue?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carolyn! As long as the vents at the back are closed I imagine the smell would be contained enough for most people, but you know how it is if you don’t like the smell of something. You really can smell it from a mile away, lol. I had my vents closed and had the cheese in the fridge and there was only one time that I could smell cheese when I opened the fridge, but that’s because as it turned out the vent wasn’t completely closed. Also one cheese in particular was extremely stinky. ~ karen!

      • Carolyn says:

        Thanks Karen!
        I think I’d love this Cheese Grotto, but I am not sure my husband would since I’d want to buy more different types of cheese. Lol.

  15. Danell says:

    Whoa!! I guess that is some valuable piece of cheese furniture! It is pretty and sounds very functional. It’ll have to wait though. Cheese hardly lasts long enough to store around here anyway! It is true, for me anyway that there is one thing I will suffer, being dairy intolerant and that is cheese. In our house, half are vegan and even the vegans love their cheese.

  16. Will this work for vegan/nut cheese?

  17. Karen says:

    Hi the grotto looks fantastic but if I cannot splurge the Cheese Storage Bags that were on your site maybe over a year ago work pretty good for the cost of them.

  18. Leslie says:

    Wow Karen that is really cool. I too love cheese. All cheese except the blue kind LOL

  19. Katie C. says:

    I haven’t finished the post, but right before I got your email I got an email that contained an article about a gang in Italy that was busted on Monday for stealing €180,000 worth of wine and cheese!

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/italian-police-bust-crime-gang-122638058.html

  20. Meredith says:

    Cheese is my jam. My saliva glands went into overdrive at the closeup of all the cheeses. Especially the Shropshire. OMG. I want this adorable little cheese grotto thing. Also, yay Coke in bottles! Although having just gone to Costco, where I usually buy Coke in bottles from Mexico, and they had none for the first time ever!……..I”m thinking our idiot President’s tough talk on Mexico has caused them to withhold their wonderful Coke made with sugar. Also, is that a Stella Artois pounder? Why have I never seen this? You go girl…..all that great cheese and fancy beer in a giant can! Can I come over?

  21. ronda says:

    woah! just checked their website … $350 US!! You DID luck out!

  22. David in Oakville says:

    Wait this is a picture of your fridge? Is there a second fridge?

    Because I see two (2) stainless steel pitchers holding milk or cream and only one (1) beer.
    Call me crazy or a guy, but this math does not make sense.
    There must be a second fridge.

    Oh wait, I see more beer and the fridge contents have been re-organized from the 1st picture to subsequent pictures. Hmmmm….

    The Grotto is nice too, but, again perhaps it is a guy thing, whenever I read or hear grotto I think of the 70’s and Hugh Hefner in a smoking jacket.

    Great post, I think you have helped me discover a new local beer to try. Please, more pictures of your fridge.

  23. Heather says:

    I’ve never even heard of any of those cheeses, I need to get out more. However your back fat joke made me literally laugh out loud! Too funny. 🙂

  24. Joanne says:

    Yes, I also liked snooping in your fridge! Does that furball stuff work? Why do you keep it in your fridge? (just cleaned up hairball urp this morning.. yes, I probably should brush her more…). And bagged and carton milk, in metal dispensers! Fannnncy lady….

    So, the cheese grotto is awesome – I’m not ready for the steep price but I can appreciate its beauty and worth. And the smell question – each cheese is not affected by the other cheeses?

    It never occurred to me to keep eggs on the counter – I’ll go read your article on that.

    Lucky you – that grotto looks good anywhere, and the purple cheese is making me hungry.

    • Chrissy says:

      I wondered about this too. Does the stinky cheese affect the others?

      • Hi Chrissy,

        My rule of thumb with the Grotto is to store like-styles of cheese on the same shelf. For example, more pungent styles like blues and washed rinds do better when stored separately from other styles, or on the same shelf, apart from other styles. The other rule is to leave at least 1 inch of space in between styles of cheese so that each wedge creates its own ambiance.

        Let me know if you have any other questions! There is also an insider’s guide to the Grotto on the FAQ page: https://cheesegrotto.com/pages/faq

    • Nicole says:

      That was going to be my question – do the milder cheeses wind up smelling like the stinkier ones? And how is the wood finished? Does it absorb the smell as well?

      Also, I totally forgot about the One of a Kind Show. I miss living in Toronto!

      • Hi Nicole,

        See above for more information on how to best store different styles of cheese. In terms of the wood, it is not finished. It comes with mineral oil to best preserve it over time. That is how cheese makers used wood as well in their aging caves.

  25. karin sorensen says:

    *slowly-putting-down-processed-stringcheese-from-a-bag* well now well now, what is this sorcery?!?!

    woah, that is one beautiful piece of hardware! I’m sure it’s worth the money because quality has its price, it looks stunning.

    Alas, I’m not too adventurous when it comes to cheese, I don’t like them too stinky. Brie and Camembert is where it ends for me. I’m not too fond of goat cheese either sadly, it’s one of those foods I wish I would like more.

    The fridge porn is awesome, too! What’s in the little brown crock with the wax paper cover??? Too creepy? I don’t care, tell me anyways ;0B

    I am wondering though, do the stronger cheeses rub of odor-wise on the mellower ones? I wouldn’t want my Imported Swiss tasting like Bavaria blu. What’s your take?

    Karin

  26. Teri says:

    I’m lusting after the cheese grotto. Also, I really want the details on your fridge. It looks like fridge heaven. Can you dish about make and model? That is a really nifty lookin appliance.
    I got some cheese bags. They are pretty good but they don’t look nearly as cool as that grotto. Usually I just tape cheese directly to my thighs but this – this would take it to a hole new level.

  27. Bethany Jones says:

    That Italian Oro Rosso is beautiful. Like, smear-it-on-a-dress-and-call-it-a-corsage beautiful!

  28. Bethany Jones says:

    Chef Cory is also beautiful.

    • Karen says:

      Ha! Yes, Cory Vitiello is quite beautiful. 🙂 As is Oro Rosso cheese! I used to have a crush on Blu 61 but this Oro is pretty much making me weak in the knees. ~ karen!

  29. Farmkid Marti says:

    Affiliate seller? That accounts for the FIFTEEN links to the Cheese Grotto.

    Being less than fond of back fat, I will defer to your better judgement. But I will send my skinny-skinny cheese – glugging local bff here so she can drool and wish. And maybe when she pries her eyes off the blueberry flavored whatever that was, she’ll buy a Cheese Grotto from you.

    Now back to business: WHERE IS GROW YOUR OWN FOOD PART II?

  30. JGL says:

    Cheese is great and all but tell us more about the Lager Shed beer!

    • Karen says:

      Ah! It’s a beer from my local craft brewery. I’m not a big drinker but even I like it. They have a few types and make specialty beers during different seasons. I believe it’s the dark ale I have in my fridge. ~ karen!

  31. Robert says:

    OMG! I’m metaphorically speechless!
    I go offline a few days and this is what I miss????
    Do they make them bigger?
    I always buy very little cheese because I can’t never decide which one to get from the very small selection of industrial cheese I have access to.
    I don’t know which one of them looks better on the pictures although I wouldn’t wear it as a corsage, why waste any of it wearing it in any other form that’s not permanently attached from the inside of one’s middle section?
    Now for the hard question Karen, would you had bought had they not approached you first?

    • Karen says:

      I’m not sure Robert. In Canadian dollars (because of our poor exchange rate) it would cost $500. For $350 yes, for $500 probably no. BUT, now that I own it and see how beautifully it’s built and how well it works, and how convenient it is … I might. I really do have an emotional reaction whenever I use it. It’s almost weird! ~ karen

  32. Robert says:

    Karen I can’t find my original comment
    I always find weird other people finding weird other people getting emotional reactions to anything that’s not another human been, or the latter finding their own reactions weird, I’m I making sense?
    Isn’t exchange rate the worst? Imagine living in a almost 20 MXN to 1 USD economy with a little over 4 USD minimum-minimum wage (it goes up from there depending on the type of job)

    • Robert says:

      And there it is! Right above this one finally deigning to appear after refreshing the page many times and after I posted again

  33. Julie says:

    This is making me ashamed of my current cheese keepers….cheap IKEA tupperware with the name scribbled on the baby blue lid. I have cheese shame!

  34. I have never heard of such a thing! Do smelly cheeses permeate other cheeses hanging out in the grotto, since they aren’t wrapped?

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