Ben: Hello, this is Ben Hartman with Blogger Local Kansas City. We’re here in Prairie Village at the Better Cheddar. We’re talking with Lincoln Broadbooks just a little bit about the shop and some upcoming events in the world of cheese. Lincoln, if you could just tell us a little bit about Better Cheddar and its history and some of the stuff that people can expect to find inside the store.
Lincoln: The Better Cheddar has been around for 30 years now. Actually, this year we celebrated our 30th anniversary. In 1983 it began. One local owner, he had a vision of some local cheese shops that specialize in cheese and other specialty food. He went for it, and so we now have two locations in the Kansas City area. We’ve got anywhere from 200 to 220, sometimes down to the 170s as far as different kinds of cheese from all over the world. That really just depends on the time of year. During the holidays we stock up up into the 220s as far as cheese goes. We have a lot of cheese. We have over 3,000 different specialty items and gourmet items in the stores as well.
Ben: So a lot of imports?
Lincoln: Definitely a lot of imports. We do try to go local when we can.
Ben: At Blogger Local we love cheese. We’re wondering, are there any upcoming events in the world of cheese?
Lincoln: Yeah. Next month, October, will be American Cheese Month. That’s the American Cheese Society puts on, well, they designate October as American Cheese Month. That means any North American cheese makers that are around, they like the cheese shops to really push the North American cheese makers, so Canada and the U.S., any cheese that’s made in the U.S.
Ben: So then some of those local companies that you stock would be qualified to be part of the celebration of American Cheese Month?
Lincoln: Definitely, and there are some good ones.
Ben: Tell us about some of the ones you actually carry.
Lincoln: We carry some of the cheeses from Skyview Dairy, which is in Pleasanton, Kansas, about 50 miles south of here. They do one cheese called Alpine Prairie. It’s a really nice comingled cheese, which basically means it’s got cow and goat’s milk. It’s a raw milk cheese, not pasteurized. It is one of those cheeses, it’s basically a table cheese but it melts really well so you can do stuff with grilled cheeses and stuff like that with that cheese. We really like it here at the Better Cheddar.
We’ve got cheese from Baetje Farms, which is actually in Bloomsdale, Missouri. They are close to St. Louis, but you don’t see them very often this far west, which is a little weird. We have several of their cheeses. We have their goat morbier, which is a harder cheese with hash, vegetable hash, in the middle of it. That’s a really nice cheese. We also have their Couer de Clos Morbier, which is basically a camembert style cheese. That is another mixed milk cheese. It has sheep and goat’s milk. That’s a really nice with white wines and different pairings like that.
Ben: Do you have a personal favorite cheese? Doesn’t have to be local.
Lincoln: That’s a hard question for a cheese monger because you like a lot of cheese.
Ben: Okay. What do you not like? What cheese do you hate?
Lincoln: I could tell you that, but there’s a few that I really do like. I can tell you a couple. One of them is a local cheese. It’s called Flory’s Truckle. It’s in Jamesport, Missouri, made by a family, Amish family, I believe. It’s a big Amish settlement there in Jamesport. It’s a traditional bandage wrapped cheddar. It’s the real thing. It’s raw milk made with pure Jersey cow’s milk. That’s one of my favorites. I really like that these days.
A cheese I can’t stand … Well, that’s hard too, because I like a lot of cheese. I once had the pleasure of eating a cabrales, which is a Spanish blue, but it was almost eight months old and it was … It needs to be a little younger than that.
Ben: A little … Did it sketch you out a little bit?
Lincoln: Yeah, it was just too much.
Ben: Not quite as far as that maggot cheese. I don’t know what that is called.
Lincoln: No, although … there might have been maggots in this, I don’t know.
Ben: Hopefully, we won’t have to have any of that. Well, awesome. It was good to meet up with you. I definitely recommend people come in to the Better Cheddar. I think it’s absolutely quintessential Kansas City. We’re proud to have a local business such as yourself still thriving and serving the community. We are so glad you are still here helping expose people to all sorts of fine imported food products they probably would never have a chance to see if they didn’t come into your shop. Thank you for that.
Lincoln: Appreciate it.
Ben: All right we hope to hear from you soon, then, Lincoln.
(09/11/13 Weather Kansas City – 90 degrees and sunny)