What You Didn't Know About Wegmans' Cheese Caves

If you consider yourself a turophile — aka a lover of cheese — then you're probably very particular about where you purchase cheeses. Perhaps there's a local cheese shop near you, or even a deli that has really fantastic cheese options. But did you know that Wegmans has a super-specialized, high-tech headquarters that opened near Rochester, New York, in 2014 (per Mental Floss) that is designed to carefully ages their fine cheeses in 'caves?'

The official Wegmans site refers to their "state-of-the-art 12,3000 sq. ft. building" which "houses a dedicated room for Brie cheeses and seven caves where soft and washed-rind cheeses are nurtured to delicious ripeness." Syracuse.com notes that the aging process is called affinage in French and is especially used for soft cheeses or those with wash-rinds. The Washington Post states that "small producers and outfits such as Murray's Cheese in New York and Vermont's Jasper Hill Farm have been aging cheeses for a while," but Wegmans is the only mainstream supermarket chain that has something so especially dedicated to cheese.

Eat This Not That! notes that the caves were intended to "mimic the European ripening process" of specialty cheeses. The length of aging changes per cheese varietal. The "caves" monitor the temperature and humidity in order to perfectly ripen its cheeses, according to Eat This Not That. Some other cheeses in development, such as St. Nectaire and 'Pié d'Angloys, are washed-rind French cheese (via Washington Post).

Aging cheeses at Wegmans

In 2018, says the company's website, Wegmans cave-ripened cheese actually earned two gold medals at the American Cheese Society competition: one for their 1916 aged goats milk cheese and one for their Professor's Brie. Edible Fingerlakes notes that the 1916 goat cheese was named for the year that Wegmans was founded. The aging process of the 1916 goat cheese is fascinating and incredibly detailed: the cheese is shipped to Wegmans' cheese caves after only two days and then "goes through an 18-day process in a temperature, humidity and outside-airflow controlled environment where it's unboxed, turned by hand and nurtured until fully ripened."

In addition to the cheese cave mega-complex, many of the stores themselves now also have specialty cases, which usually keep cheeses at about 40 degrees and 90 percent humidity — and there is no plastic wrap to be found, according to The Washington Post.

No matter if you're making a charcuterie board, topping a pasta dish, stirring into risotto, baking into bread, or just straight-up eating right out of the package, Wegmans is an amazing option for all things cheese.