The story behind this gourmet treat combines love and another passion of ours—cheese. It begins with that wonderful past time we know as lunch. Well, it should be wonderful—and romantic! What's so romantic about lunch? Setting has a tremendous impact, especially when that setting is the Roman countryside. This is where, every day for six months, Michele Buster enjoyed her lunch. She had discovered the Sini family's restaurant, Buonatavola, and every day she tasted Sini Fulvi's own cheeses, as well as other select cheeses from Portugal, Spain and Italy (many of which we send to our members). Michele, an American, traveling to such places as Barcelona, Ireland and Italy to set up international sporting events, fell profoundly in love with handcrafted European cheeses! And who could blame her?
At first, she fell in love with one particular cheese. With a bit of a language barrier, when the waiters sometimes brought the wrong cheese, she would say, "No, no! Bring the one with the black label." The object of her affection was a semi-soft, mildly peppery, ewes' milk cheese called Cacio de Roma. Perhaps influenced by the intoxicating nature of this culinary treat, Michele then fell madly in love with the man who made her favorite cheese, Pierluigi Sini. (Who knew cheese was an aphrodisiac?) The two of them joined together and moved—not to a home in Italy, but to Astoria, Queens, in New York City. Together, they would introduce the cheeses of Pierluigi Sini's family to America.
These days, Michele enthusiastically promotes cheese instead of sports, and gives seminars about the many aspects of handcrafted cheese making. She has been known to fly around the country in order to educate staff at cheese stores. In large part, it’s to make them feel more comfortable about mold. "Mold is natural and doesn’t ruin cheese. Nor is it unsafe. It doesn’t mean the cheese is bad. You don’t have to eat it but you can certainly eat the cheese beneath," says Michelle.