Faces of Kansas City: This man sure knows his cheese - KCTV5

Faces of Kansas City: This man sure knows his cheese

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS (KCTV) -

Even if you're a big fan of cheese, you might quickly realize you don't know much about the food after spending some time with one of the Midwest's foremost cheese experts.

Lincoln Broadbooks is a cheesemonger.

"It means I work in the cheese industry," he explained.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines cheesemonger as "someone who sells cheese." But Broadbooks doesn't just sell cheese, he lives it. He practically knows everything about the stuff.

He's one of only a handful of cheesemongers in the Midwest who also carries the title of "Certified Cheese Professional" which a person only gets after passing a rigorous test. Despite the esteemed accomplishment, he hasn't let the title go to his head.

"I grew up on Cheez Whiz and Kraft singles," he said.

"I'm not snobby about that, I will eat stuff like that," he added when asked if he'd still eat the stuff.

People can find Broadbooks at the Better Cheddar store in Prairie Village, KS. It's a place "cheeseheads" consider heaven.

"I had it (a sweet-flavored Norwegian cheese) on the East Coast and I enjoyed it immensely and I did not think I would be able to find it in the Midwest, so I was very excited to find it here," Lydia Diebolt said.

While there are countless varieties of cheeses from around the world at the store, Broadbooks says customers are trending regional.

"They want to buy local these days, they want to keep small-batch things in their fridge and people want to learn more," he said.

KCTV5's Brad Stephens got a crash course on cheese that began with this nugget: cheese made from raw milk is tastier than that made with milk that's been pasteurized. For proof, Broadbooks sliced open a wheel of farmhouse cheddar made in Jamesport, MO, that's been aging for a year and a half.

Stephens got to try everything from the local cheddar to a California creation of traditional blue cheese.

Broadbooks describes the taste as earthy and spicy with a touch of fruitiness. It almost sounds like he's talking about wine.

"Cheese isn't as complex as wine, but the descriptions of wine a lot of times will mirror the descriptions of cheeses so it's the same idea," he said.

Broadbooks said the key to buying good cheese is to taste it first with samples.

The cheese sold at Better Cheddar tends to be more expensive than what people will find in their regular grocery stores. But, Broadbooks said, with organic small-batch cheeses it's like fine wine - you sip and don't gulp.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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