It’s a gluttonous time of year. Take your pick of chocolate, candy, foie gras, fresh truffles, but above all else, this is the season to gorge on wicked cheese. Whether it's gooey and rich or crisp and robust with flavours that pop, cheese is always the star of the show.
Curing incredible cheese for my customers at Cheese Boutique is no simple task, especially at this time of year where demand is high and shorter daylight hours accelerates everyone’s timetables. If only our supply chain could be as simple as an email to order and turnkey for next day delivery. That ain't happening.
For Cheese Boutique to have top quality cheese in November and December, I am sourcing and planning today’s cheese counter in mid-spring, approximately seven to eight months in advance. Cheesemakers all around the world need to plan and forecast how much cheese they can sell, thus dictating production. Once orders are in to all our suppliers globally, it is locked in and I cannot add or take away anything. There’s no turning back.
What exactly does this mean? Well, I forecast how much cheese we will sell, what we will be selling with each year’s trends in mind, and of course work out the logistics of arrival and check readiness for retail.
It's always a struggle and one of the hardest parts of my job. I don't want to under order and not get my customers the cheese they crave during the holidays, but I also don't want to over order premium quality cheeses with nowhere to go. Seasonal cheese can be costly and after everyone has stuffed themselves with yuletide indulgence, there isn't a huge market for pricey, ripe, beautiful cheese in January.
Like most of you, I don't know what I 'm eating for dinner tonight, so this challenge is what makes this time of year even more exciting for me. All that planning becomes a savoured reward that I get to pass on to my customers.
Just wait and see what's in store this holiday this season!