Cheesed off by spoiled cheese?

How to protect the life of your cheese and defend its flavour

Elaine "Lainey" Baram
Elaine “Lainey” Baram

EDMONTON, Alta. June 23, 2016/ Troy Media/ – Tired of expensive cheese going bad before you have had time to consume it; of constantly trimming mold or cutting off hard edges to the point where there was little left?

I was too, even after having tried solutions ranging from containers to plastic wrap, wax paper and even parchment paper: nothing worked. Then I discovered cheese paper, totally by accident while placing an online order for gift towels.

What I thought I was getting was a simply fancier type of wrap for cheese. But after wrapping a cheese block in the cheese paper I went through the entire block without any trimming or cutting!

Like all food, cheese needs to be properly wrapped to maintain its freshness. It also, however, needs to be allowed to breathe.

Which is why cheese paper, made from a combination of two layers of specially formulated materials, works so well.

Curiosity to know – and get – more came when I used up my last sheet. I couldn’t find any local suppliers. But a simple search online took me to [popup url=”” height=”1000″ width=”1000″ scrollbars=”1″][/popup] and a conversation with the company’s owner and founder Mark Goldman. His story, which led to the creation of the company over a decade ago, is as interesting as the paper itself.

Formaticum Cheese Paper

Goldman, a cheese lover, was working for U.S.-based specialty cheese distributor/importer Provvista. One day during a trip to Paris he found himself surrounded in his hotel room by 40 different types of cheese. Cheese, of course, has always fascinated him, but it was the type of paper they were wrapped in, particularly the uniqueness of the various brand logos etched on each piece, which caught his attention.

That was when Goldman had his epiphany, which led to an extended stay in Paris where, unlike in the U.S, manufacturers and distributors are plentiful. By connecting with some of those manufacturers and distributors, he learned more about cheese paper, including its scientific properties and how it kept cheese fresh longer.

And that is how Formaticum was born.

Goldman was happy to oblige when I asked to know more about the secrets of cheese paper. Turns out, the magic behind it is a special formula comprised of an outer layer of wax coated paper with a fine inner layer of polyethylene.

“It is a science,” said Goldman. “Two layers work in concert to keep the moisture content of the cheese held inside the wrap and at the same time allow for oxygen exchange.”

This, Goldman said, helps keep the necessary bacteria found in cheese alive, thus keeping it fresh.

Goldman added a necessary caution, however.

“It is hard to say exactly how long cheese lasts wrapped in this paper. There are many variables including type of cheese, when it was first cut, how long it is in the store, how long the cheese is left out etc.”

Formaticum is not only for home use, however; businesses are recognizing its value too.

Tricia Bell, owner of [popup url=”” height=”1000″ width=”1000″ scrollbars=”1″]The Cavern[/popup], an Edmonton cheese boutique and bistro wine bar café, has been using the product since she opened her doors. She also sells it.

Bell trained in New York under cheese authority and Maître Fromager (Master Cheese Maker) Max McCalman.

“Anyone who handles cheese that is filled with life is going to use this cheese breathing paper – or at least should,” said Bell. “It keeps it happy.”

“Every piece of cheese that leaves Cavern is wrapped in Formaticum,” she added.

As for me, since I’ve discovered it and started using it, I’ll never go back to using plastic wrap.

Formaticum is available in a roll of individual 15 11×14” sheets with labels. The sheets can be reused for the same type of cheese provided it’s not stained. It’s also available with a slightly different composition in a 6.25” x 11” bag form (the polyethylene is sprayed onto a single-ply paper).

Goldman has also recently introduced an Italian manufactured all-purpose recyclable antibacterial storage bag.

Formaticum sheets are available on [popup url=”” height=”1000″ width=”1000″ scrollbars=”1″]Amazon[/popup] and select retail outlets.

Elaine “ Lainey” Baram, aka Consumer Girl, is an informed shopper. She does the research, asks the right questions and helps make sense in the consumer world. Lainie is also included in Troy Media’s Unlimited Access subscription plan. Lainey can be reached on her new blog [popup url=”” height=”1000″ width=”1000″ scrollbars=”1″][/popup].

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