By PERRY MANTI
You know you’re becoming a true caseophile when . . .
. . . your parents start asking what kind of cheese you want for your birthday.
. . . the GPS unit in your car is programmed to always lead you to the cheese shop.
. . . you stub your toe and angrily yell “Idiazabal!”
. . . you wish Chanel would finally come out with a fragrance that smells like Brie de Meaux.
. . . you fantasize about Kraft going bankrupt.
. . . your spouse, based on what you often mumble in your sleep, suspects you’re having a torrid affair with some Italian hussy named “Taleggio.”
. . . you enjoy holding your socks to your nose because it reminds you of Limburger.
. . . you seriously wonder what cheddar from giraffe’s milk might taste like.
. . . you have to say to your wife “Oh, that bra! Sorry dear, I thought you were asking about the Slow Food Movement. Try looking in the clothes drier.”
. . . you proudly refer to yourself and fellow pecorino aficionados as “pecorheads.”
. . . your spouse puts her foot down and simply refuses to allow you to convert the entire basement of your home into a cheese cave.
. . . you sincerely hope Louis Pasteur is burning in Hell.
. . . you have a reoccurring erotic dream involving a goat and a tub full of warm curds.
. . . your colleagues are beginning to believe you’ve joined some bizarre cult that worships Thunder Oak Gouda.
. . . you believe Saturday is the best day of the week because you get to taste cheese at George Brown College.
. . . your vision of Hell includes the image of Ronald McDonald pushing a cheese cart.
. . . your expectant wife unequivocally rejects your idea of naming the child “Pliny the Elder.”
. . . your spouse catches you on the Internet, in the middle of the night, ogling pictures of Montgomery Cheddar.
. . . you book off sick at work so you can surreptitiously attend a local cheese convention.
. . . you mumble “Mildly lactic on the attack, a little barny, notes of citrus, lingering nuttiness on the finish.” Then, you open your eyes to discover the Baskin-Robbins staff behind the counter staring at you in utter disbelief.
. . . you stop going to church and begin turning to your cheesemonger for spiritual advice.
. . . you dream about living in a house shaped like a Valencay.
. . . you have a nightmare about a large piece of Cabrales biting you back.
. . . you embrace your spouse and tenderly whisper, “Je t’aime ma petite Chabichou du Poitou.”
. . . you dream of one day seeing Max McCalman on Dancing with the Stars.
Perry Manti, a teacher by profession, was in the first graduating class of the Professional Fromager program at George Brown College in Toronto. The Toscano in the photo above was two to three months old when he purchased it at Monforte Dairy: “I rubbed it every week with Kalamata olive oil. I aged it in my cantina for an additional three months. The rind became soft and edible. The paste became somewhat darker than a typical Toscano and developed a fruity aroma.”
Perry presented the aged cheese to Monforte where it became the inspiration for Athena: “Quite frankly, I thought their final version was better than mine. It turned out well for them, as they sold out.”