The November edition of Meet Your Monger highlights some newcomers to the cheese industry, but undoubtedly seasoned turophiles - David Conison, Rebecca Moyer and Brian Sutton of Sullivan Sundries, a general store and specialty shop that opened earlier this year in Jeffersonville, New York. Like many, the originally NYC-based trio settled upstate during the pandemic, and the idea for the shop was formed around one central goal: to bring the highest quality artisan cheese and other products to the people of the Catskills. After conquering some significant sourcing obstacles that are unfortunately all too common in rural areas, David, Rebecca, and Brian hand-selected every product in the shop, and you can find them all behind the cheese counter daily cutting, slicing, and wrapping like pros. In collaboration with Bloom Coffee, R52Home, and Slug Wines, which share the space with Sullivan Sundries, their storefront is a impeccably curated specialty food paradise - from award-winning cheeses, to small-batch local condiments, to unique international snacks, and the best French butter you'll ever taste (that became so popular at the shop that it got its own merch drop), Sullivan Sundries has something for everyone. And they've been championing Formaticum products from the beginning - read our interview below to learn why David, Becca, and Brian chose Formaticum custom cheese paper to set their branding apart and provide their customers with the highest quality storage products to preserve the flavor of their precious cheese and charcuterie.
What inspired you to open your own cheese shop?
David: I grew up mostly in a small, provincial midwest town with not a lot going on (especially when it came to food). When a small cheese and wine shop opened during high school, I tasted artisanal cheese for the first time, and it launched a lifelong obsession with delicious things. When Becca, Brian, and I decided to open a specialty food shop in Jeffersonville 20 years after I first tasted Humboldt Fog and aged Gouda, we knew that cheese had to be the center of everything we did. If you’re into eating, cooking, or even just partying like we are (in a civilized-ish way of course), then becoming obsessed with cheese is pretty easy to do.
Becca: Ever since I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Paris, I learned there’s no wrong time of day to eat cheese, and that cheese in itself can be a meal! And also, smelly cheeses are absolutely delicious. Fast forward many years when we relocated during the pandemic to the Western Catskills, we found ourselves in a ‘right-to-farm’ community that is abundant in fresh trout, produce, dairy, fruits, meats and poultry. Complimenting the area with the world’s best international cheeses just made sense to us, so we went for it.
Brian: Growing up I was an insanely picky eater and cheese was one of the only things in the food world that I was interested in. My love for cheese and desire to try every cheese that I came across pushed me to become a more adventurous eater all around. When we made the permanent move to Sullivan County, one of the things that I missed most about living in NYC and traveling the world on a regular basis was the access that we had to many of the cheeses that inspired my obsession with food.
How do you use Formaticum products at your counter?
David: We proudly use Formaticum-branded papers at our counter; every cheese and meat we sell comes wrapped (to varying degrees of competence) in a Formaticum product.
Becca: We printed our logo across multiple Formaticum cheese papers – its a cute personal touch that codifies our brand but also does a great job ensuring the longevity of meats, cheeses and butter for our customers.
Brian: We slice meats to order on our hand-cranked Berkel flywheel slicer, and its an extra special touch to be able to send customers home with their charcuterie wrapped in the Formaticum Brown Alios paper.
What is your favorite Formaticum product and why?
David: Formaticum Cheese Storage Bags (which we sell at our counter) are such a perfect product. I really push our customers to use it and prolong the life of their cheeses.
Becca: Definitely the custom-branded Formaticum Two-Ply cheese paper. It looks great, I know its going to ensure quality storage for the cheese, and I love when I get perfect creases around a cut (but it also works really great around the oddly shaped ones too!).
Brian: The Cheese Logs! The guided notes are a great way to get people thinking about cheese and what makes each one unique and different. Plus it acts as a reminder to revisit your favorites!
If you were a cheese, which one would you be and why?
David: Finca Pascualete Retorta – my favorite cheese in our case. Like the Retorta, once you peel back the exterior I’m also a stinky little goo boy.
Becca: Hands down the 2-year aged L’Amuse Signature Gouda. Its surprisingly complex – it's both sweet and salty, and it's firm and creamy while still boasting that signature crunch you expect from a Gouda. I find it so savory and oh so addictive.
Brian: The Willoughby from Jasper Hill Farm. Unassuming on the outside but full of funk on the inside.
What is one thing you wish consumers knew about artisan cheese?
David: Excellent cheeses should of course be enjoyed solo, but any artisan product can elevate even the simplest cooked dishes to new heights. I recently made a roti paratha grilled cheese with Harbison that blew my mind.
Becca: There’s a cheese for you! And there’s a whole world of cheese out there to discover. We try to taste out as many cheeses as we possibly can to help create more awareness that specialty cheeses are more unique and flavorful than the everyday cheese you find in the grocery store.
Brian: Artisan cheese packs many helpful health benefits. High in vitamins and protein, so dig in!
What is your favorite cheese storage fact?
David: Cheeses without labels might not get eaten! Make sure to label your Formaticum Cheese Storage Bag!
Becca: Just like us, cheeses need to breathe! Our Formaticum papers do just that!
Brian: Proper storage is an integral part of the cheese-making and aging process. Spending two minutes to learn how to store your cheese is an investment that helps you enjoy cheese so much longer - if it lasts that long of course!
To nominate a shop or monger for the Meet Your Monger series, email email@example.com.