Can This Brie? Cheese Taster Paid to Chomp Through 27 Kilos of Cheese a Year
· Sarah de Wit is the official cheese taster for leading supermarket Asda
· She has the joy of tasting up to 160 different types of cheese a month
· This fromage fixation has even led her to give up coffee as it meddles with the palate
· Mrs de Wit practices 30 minutes of palate cleansing every day to ‘prepare’ her taste buds
Whether we’re devouring it on a board, melting it in a pot or slicing it up for a sandwich, Brits just can’t get enough of cheese. Arguably, Sarah de Wit has the best job in the world – she gets to spend her 9-to-5 eating it.
Mrs de Wit has chomped her way through the cheesemonger ranks, landing her dream role as the Official Cheese Taster for Asda. The coveted position, which she has held for 15 years, sees her eating 27 kilograms of cheese per year – equating to 405 kilograms during her working life alone. Despite eating copious amounts of cheese on a weekly basis, Mrs de Wit manages to stay fit and keep in shape, being a keen road cyclist, cycling 150 miles a week.
Spending her days studying and sampling all sorts of cheese – 160 different types a month, she samples everything from Roquefort to Ricotta and Chevre to Camembert. Mrs de Wit’s key responsibility is ensuring that Asda customers are receiving the highest quality and most flavoursome fromage around.
Mrs de Wit first fell in love with cheese at the age of seven during a family holiday in France. Visits to the local fromagerie sparked a fascination with all the ‘complex aromas, flavours, and textures’. She then went on to study food science at University, which further cemented her passion.
Proving her dedication to the job, Mrs de Wit has even sacrificed coffee as she claims that it ‘meddles with the palate’ and ‘effects the flavour’ of the cheese. She also spends 30 minutes every day cleansing her palate before sampling any cheese to ensure her taste buds are in tip top shape, swearing by eating lemon sorbet, pickled ginger or dry crackers.
“Cheese is my absolute passion and I take my job very seriously. Tasting cheese is not dissimilar to tasting wine – there is a real art to it and you need to fully engage all the senses to really appreciate all the flavours. The order you taste it in is also really important – always start with the mildest cheese and work your way up to the most mature, so you don’t confuse your taste buds.”
Mrs de Wit is continuously working to innovate and identify new cheese trends across the globe. She recently travelled to France, Spain and Italy in search of inspiration, which saw her introduce the new Extra Special Burrata and Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella to Asda’s cheese aisle.
“Our cheese plates are really evolving, it’s no longer about simply cheese and crackers – cheese is now the hero of our dishes. We’re seeing a big trend towards lighter and fresher cheese from regional Italy and burrata is really leading the charge at the moment. It’s one of my personal favourites!”
Unsurprisingly, she is well versed in the perfect cheese pairings, confessing her ideal dinner party ends with her favourite combination of goats cheese with almonds and honey, accompanied with a glass of red wine.
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About Asda Stores Ltd.
Founded in the 1960s in Yorkshire, Asda is one of Britain’s leading retailers and helps customers save money and live better in stores, online and through their mobile devices.
Each week more than 18 million customers visit its 645 stores - including 30 Supercentres, 392 Superstores, 155 Supermarkets, 33 Asda Living stores, and 35 standalone petrol stations - and websites, and are served by 153,000 colleagues. www.asda.com and www.george.com deliver to 99% of the UK’s homes and to its 538 click and collect sites across the UK.
Its main office is in Leeds, Yorkshire and its George clothing division is in Lutterworth, Leicestershire. Asda joined Walmart, the world’s number one retailer, in 1999.