Wegmans’ cheese caves are open for affinage.
The supermarket has begun full operations at its 12,300-square-foot cheese-ripening building in Rochester. Under the watchful eye of an “affineur,” or cheese-ripening specialist, specialty cheeses will be aged and finished before being sold at Wegmans stores.
The building will house a Brie room and rooms for seven other kinds of soft cheeses and washed-rind cheeses.
Wegmans has built the facility to help meet growing consumer demand for specialty cheeses that don’t ship well when imported. The company said the facility allows it to produce more of those cheeses, such as Camembert and Epoisses, and give it more control over quality.
Wegmans hopes to source more cheese locally and is working with local cheese artisans. Eventually, Wegmans wants to partner with dairy farmers who would produce the young cheeses, and then the company would complete the finishing, marketing and sale. It now produces one Vermont-sourced cheese, called 1916 (the year Wegmans was founded), and imports the rest of the cheeses that are ripened in its caves.