Asking a cheesemonger to select a favourite cheese was foolhardy, I admit, and Calum Hodgson (pictured), a self-confessed "curd nerd", soon put me straight.
"Selecting a cheese is easy. Selecting a favourite is folly. I could never declare only one as a favourite. I want my customers to taste a range of cheese on the day they visit. It's a fun food adventure, and a reminder that each batch of cheese will be different from the next."
Hodgson is the newly appointed dedicated cheesemonger at Sabato. With New Zealanders' interest in artisan cheese and cheesemaking growing exponentially, Sabato's owner Jacqui Dixon knew it was time to bring in a specialist.
"We've been importing a wide range of specialty cheeses and handling a selection of New Zealand offerings for many years and now there are so many exciting things happening in the New Zealand cheese scene, we thought it was time to have our own resident cheesemonger.
"When we met Calum we were immediately impressed by his style, knowledge and handling of this delicious product. He makes cheese a living, breathing thing rather than just a row of plastic."
Calum Hodgson is in-store every Tuesday to Saturday at Sabato, 57 Normanby Rd, Mt Eden, sabato.co.nz.
• Last night the winners of the prestigious 2014 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards were announced, with winners including "Champion Cheesemaker" Jeanne Van Kuyk of Aroha Organic Goat Cheese, and Barrys Bay Traditional Cheese's Aged Gouda. All award-winning cheeses are available to sample today as part of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards Cuisine CheeseFest. 5pm-8.30pm at The Langham. Door sales $35. For more details visit nzsca.org.nz.