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Eataly's Own Takes Cheesemonger Invitational 2014

Eataly's Own Takes Cheesemonger Invitational 2014

On June 29, 2014, cheese professionals, producers, and enthusiasts from across the country flocked to Long Island City for the cheese event of the year, the Cheesemonger Invitational.

A celebration of cheese, the competition pit North America’s most adamant cheese connoisseurs against one another as they strived for the title of Master Cheesemonger. From wrapping and blind-tasting challenges to crafting the perfect bite and pairing the perfect beer, competitors were immersed in cheese for nearly 12 hours.

When the evening drew to a close, formaggio fans collectively held their breath as the judges announced the winner: Emily Acosta of Eataly NYC Flatiron!

“I think I went into shock,” Emily told Eataly Magazine. “I was so grateful to even get to the final round because I was competing against so many talented and knowledgeable participants.”


Emily is the first woman and the first New Yorker – and the first Eatalian! – to earn the title of Master Cheesemonger. Featured among her prizes was a “golden ticket” from Cheese Journeys, offering an all-expense-paid trip to explore the cheeses of England next April.

“It’s such a dream!” she said. “(The competition) was so amazing but also very challenging. How can you prepare for something like that?” Emily paused, then laughed. “I guess you just have to eat cheese all the time – which is what I do, and I love it!”

Emily is the assistant manager of the cheese counter at Eataly NYC Flatiron, where she has worked for more than three years.  Her position allows her to combine her bachelor’s degree from Stern School of Business with her master’s degree in food studies from NYU.

Cheese also features prominently in Emily’s out-of-work life, from “Cutting the Curd,” the radio show that she produces with Eataly’s Head Cheesemonger Greg Blais, to the culinary classes she teaches at Eataly’s La Scuola.

Little can better explain the cheesemonger’s passion for cheese than her presentation in one of the final events in the competition, which required each of the 11 finalists to describe the cheese that they feel represents them. Emily, who “always writes little cheese songs,” decided to sing her response about her favorite Cinerino Cheese to the tune of  the ubiquitous “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen:

Pale white paste and a rind of grey,
Cheese tradition at its best.
Created on one day only,
From the burnt leaves of myrtle ash.

A pecorino from the south of Italy.
Made in honor of St. Anthony.

Burnt mac n’ cheese,
Some sour cream,
Grassy, Floral and some Earl Grey tea.
It’s the best cheese, cause it’s like me… A bit nutty…

Cinerino, cinerino.
Campania’s where it’s made.
Cinerino, cinerino.
Its outside is dark and grey.

But inside’s light, and citrusy bright.
It’s small and round.

Cinerino, cinerino.
More love in a cheese I will never find.

Piazza Eataly Cheese

Visit Emily Acosta at Eataly NYC Flatiron's cheese counter, and you are sure to come away with a new favorite cheese (likely while humming Emily's song of the day).