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Christmas Gift Guide
Gadgets

A cheap way to cherish your cheese

Cheese paper helps you properly store expensive cheeses, retaining their flavors while keeping them fresh

Formaticum
In most cases, I have no problem cooking for just myself. Instead of allowing fresh vegetables and cuts of meat to go to waste, I make large batches that I can pack for lunches. Living in New York helps, since I always have access to produce shops and can visit them as often as the need arises.

But, even though it is one of my favorite things to eat, one thing that rarely shows up on my shopping list is expensive cheese. Seldom available at the shops down the street in small portions, I typically get to eat from a block of fancy fromage only a couple of times before it starts to taste sour, the edges turn inedible, or it begins to grow mold. And, since cheesevdoesn't freeze too well, I'm unable to pack any portion of it in the icebox.

What causes most of these problems is improper storage, according to the makers of Formaticum Cheese Paper. According to their Web site, wrapping moisture and air around live cheese cultures kills them and causes cheese to get moldy and smell like ammonia. The cheese paper is made from an outer layer of waxed kraft paper and an inner layer of polyethylene, a combination that is porous enough for oxygen to reach the cheese and keep the cultures living and fresh.

The paper is fun to look at, too. Printed on each sheet is a map of the United States, along with regional cheese specialties. The kit of papers also comes with adhesive labels that you can use to note the region, type, and characteristics of the block of cheese you're wrapping.

The kit comes with 15 sheets measuring 11 inches tall by 14 inches wide and 15 adhesive labels, enough to wrap 30 1/4 pound pieces of cheese. It's available at the FormaticumWeb site for $9.